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The Speed of Dark

Moon, Elizabeth (Book - 2003 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Speed of Dark
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In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal. Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use "please" and "thank you" and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself. But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act andbejust like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music-with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world-shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a "normal"? There are intense pressures coming from the world around him-including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world . . . and the very essence of who he is. Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable,The Speed of Darkis a gripping exploration into the mind of an autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of humanity and matters of the heart.
Authors: Moon, Elizabeth
Title: The speed of dark
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2003
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: viii, 340 p. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Elizabeth Moon
ISBN: 0345447557
Branch Call Number: FICTION MOON
Subject Headings: Autistic people Fiction
Genre/Form: Medical novels
Topical Term: Autistic people
LCCN: 2002020771
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Library Staff

This thought-provoking novel journeys inside the mind of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man, who is asked to undergo a new, experimental treatment designed to cure autism, as he decides whether or not he should risk a medical procedure that could make him "normal."


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Apr 11, 2013
  • JCLLisaJ rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Set in the near future where it is possible to cure autism, Moon, the author and parent of a child with autism addresses the question “what is normal?” What happens to those who aren’t “normal”? The Speed of Dark is a powerful and thought provoking book which raises a lot of questions and provides insight into society and how we treat those who don’t meet society’s definition of “normal” and this future world’s solution. This is one of my favorites, but as a parent of a child with autism I have horribly mixed feelings about the ending and the main character’s choice.

While some may find it slow, it is written from the main character's point of view which provides great insight into how someone with autism may think and feel. Stick with it... you won't be sorry!

Apr 24, 2012
  • BlackMartagon rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of the best books I have ever read. There are other worlds out there and people live in them.

Oct 19, 2011
  • horthhill rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I found Moon's 'The Speed of Dark' to be a slow read. The premise centres on an experimental autism cure in the near future and whether the main character, Lou, a high functioning autistic man, should undergo the treatment. Unfortunately, Moon tries to create a first person point-of-view of Lou with a 'dialect' that is supposed to get inside the head of Lou and his speach patterns. This 'dialect' is repeatitious. It was often slow going which was not helped by a weak plot. The novel was OK.

Sep 22, 2011
  • mpot rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent! Engrossing.

Wonderful insights in the world of autism. Gives the reader much to ponder regarding their relationships with people with disabilities.

Apr 23, 2011
  • Celiza rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is an incredible depiction of what it is like to live as a person with autism. It is well-written, an entertaining read, and addresses the important question of whether a person would be the same person with and without a cognitive disability -- how does having such a disability contribute to who a person is. This is an amazing book.

Aug 24, 2010
  • kinzejj rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is one of the best books I have ever read. . . .a great novel that provides an accurate picture of what life is like for an autistic person.

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