THE SPEED OF DARK
How do we define normal? Should we try to define it at all? In the not-so-distant future, medical science is able to cure most genetic ailments while a child is still in the womb. Unfortunately, this has created a generation of adults who just missed out on the cure and are aging in a world where physical and mental imperfections no longer exist for most.
Lou Arrendale is a high-functioning autistic with a gift for pattern analysis. He's employed at a pharmaceutical company, in a department full of people like him who work at data analysis. When the company decides all their autistic employees should undergo an experimental procedure to "fix" their brain functions, Lou's orderly world is destroyed. And when a non-autistic friend's erratic behavior puts Lou in danger, he starts to question the entire concept of "normal" that has haunted his life.
Lou's first-person narration is lyrical and touching, displaying Moon's gift for characterization and her familiarity with the subject matter. Lou's incredible journey addresses the basic human need to fit insomething everyone, however "normal" they may be, can relate to. (Mar., 368 pp., $13.95)
Jen Talley Exum