cover image You Lost Me There

You Lost Me There

Rosecrans Baldwin, Riverhead, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59448-763-7

A famed neuroscientist learns potent lessons about the fallibility of memory in Baldwin's underwhelming debut, a highbrow melodrama that stretches for resonance and is narrated by noted Alzheimer's researcher Dr. Victor Aaron, who works at a small but prestigious Maine lab and grieves the death of his screenwriter wife, Sara. Victor finds a series of note cards that recount key moments in their 33-year marriage, but Victor's memories of the same events are either missing or differ, and it becomes clear there were longstanding issues in the marriage—notably that Victor felt threatened by Sara's success and wasn't supportive of her work. Victor does the normal confused and grieving middle-aged man things—becomes fixated on his laments, takes a younger lover—and eventually finds himself hosting his goddaughter, Cornelia, who inadvertently provides the clue that allows Victor to discover Sara's final, unfinished screenplay. Sara's perspective—here limited to her note cards—is affecting and provides the novel its best moments. Unfortunately, readers are stuck for the most part with Victor, whose unsympathetic culpability and fundamental blandness sap narrative energy and make much of the novel feel like filler. (Aug.)