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portrayal of Jordan, Halberstam's work is entertaining, informative and as captivating as his subject is talented . (KS) Hannibal by Thomas Harris New York: Delacorte, 1999, 484 pp., $27.95 Amemory palace is a mental device that reUes on imagined mnemonic architecture, each room in the structure containing particular objects placed to assist one's memory. In Hannibal, Thomas Harris' long-awaited sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, serial kiUer Hannibal Lecter escapes to his memory palace during moments of meditation or great stress. Since his last novel, Harris' readers have eagerly awaited the chance to turn the magnifying glass on Lecter himself. But the answer to what makes the mastermind criminal tick, spelled out for readers in this novel, is disappointingly unsophisticated. The memory palace is a perfect metaphor for the novel as a whole, since a view of the inside of Lecter's mind is exactly what readers have been anticipating. Unfortunately, Harris' description of Lecter's memory palace is cursory at best and glosses over the majority of his interior life. Who would have expected the mind of Hannibal Lecter to be such a dry residence? The only place where Harris does anything unpredictable is in some of his narrative and point-of-view shifts. Unfortunately, the oddly outof -place techniques fail to add anything but puzzlement over why Harris employs them. Harris focuses mainly upon Lecter's memories of Myscha, his late sister, and Clarice Starling, the young FBI agent first encountered in The Silence of the Lambs. The positive aspects of Starling's strong character, developed in the previous novel, are systematicaUy dismantled in Hannibal until she becomes Utile more than a character led around by the nose. Even the purely technical detaUs of the FBI investigative techniques, such as forensics and behavioral sciences, are painfuUy absent in this novel. What Harris does give readers is a single simple answer to Lecter's character; the root of his evil is boUed down to one past incident. Even worse, any complexity that might have been associated with this answer is drowned out by the repetition of the answer itself throughout the story. The result is that neither Lecter's memory palace nor Hannibal itseU is the masterwork of horror readers were waiting for. (HN) Helen Keller: A Life by Dorothy Herrmann Knopf, 1998, 398 pp., $18 The question at the heart of Dorothy Herrmann'sbiography of a muchloved American woman is this: What happened after The Miracle Worker? The answer is both simple and complex : Helen KeUer grew up. Herrmann 's biography tackles the difficult task of tearing away the veneer of legend to find the real person underneath. Photographs of KeUer demurely smelling a rose or playing chess with her lifelong companion and teacher, Annie SuUivan, are a stark contrast to the passionate and 218 ยท The Missouri Review ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
p. 218
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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