The Echo Chamber by Luke Williams
A Novel

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Synopsis

A compelling story of family, empire, and memory—"an ambitious and prize-worthy debut" (The Sunday Times, London)

Luke Williams's exquisitely written debut novel is narrated by Evie Steppman, a woman born with an extraordinarily acute sense of hearing. Now, at fifty-four, alone in an attic in Scotland that is filled with objects from her past, and with her powers of hearing starting to fade, she sets out to record the events of her life. From her recollections come an outpouring of stories that transcend history; tales of a twelfth-century mapmaker mingle with memories of Evie's childhood growing up in Nigeria in the 1950s and her travels across America in the 1960s. Williams's fascination with history and his talent for evoking multiple voices will bring to mind the work of Salman Rushdie and David Mitchell.


 

About Luke Williams

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LUKE WILLIAMS was born in 1977. He grew up in Fife, Scotland, and now divides his time between Edinburgh and London. The Echo Chamber is his first novel.
 
Published August 4, 2011 by Penguin Books. 384 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Echo Chamber

Kirkus Reviews

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Magical episodes, curious objects and violent scenes dot the long, impressionistic story narrated by British writer Williams’ heroine Evie Steppman, born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1946.

Aug 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

The New York Times

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The answer, if not the key to the whole novel, may lie in its final pages, in which Evie discovers her treasured mappa mundi ravaged by moths and concludes that “the map engendered by the moths is every bit as real or valid a representation of the world as the mappa mundi itself.” Corrupted truths?

Aug 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

The Guardian

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It's a sentiment shared by fiftysomething Evie Steppman, the governing voice of Luke Williams's first novel, as she sits at a desk made from a wardrobe door and copies of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and tries to compile an auditory history of her life.

May 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: Confined to an attic space in Scotland and losing her hearing, this is Evie's story of growing up in Nigeria in the last days of the British Empire where sounds echo through time.

Jul 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

San Francisco Chronicle

In the present day, as an adult living in Scotland, Evie must contend with an encroaching deafness that threatens to block out not only sound but also memory of sound - which, for Evie, is tantamount to memory itself.

Aug 30 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

The Daily Beast

Writing in The New York Times, Kit Reed had this to say about Reservation Road, John Burnham Schwartz’s 1998 novel about two Connecticut families torn apart by a hit-and-run accident: “Reflective, character driven as it is, Reservation Road reads like a thriller, swift and complete.” Schwartz rev...

Aug 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Evie learned opposites and contrasts—that East and West repelled each other, that Cat and Sparrow were “coupled in mutual hate.” Evie’s audition is also temporally transcendent—she hears through time and space, as if her hearing materialized from the primordial steam that saturated her with time...

Aug 16 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

Scotsman.com

You might have passed Evie Steppman, or someone like her, on the beach on East Lothian - an unremarkable, fiftysomething woman avoiding eye contact, caught up in her own musings.

May 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

Portland Book Review

@Lael_Lenehan @melmoes could you make a You Tube Video that way we could post it afterwords?

Mar 23 2012 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

The New Yorker

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Sep 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

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Scottish Review of Books

Gullane resident Evie types her memoirs in an attic.

May 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Echo Chamber: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Echo Chamber
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