A man regains consciousness on a men’s room floor with no memory of who he is or what happened to him prior to this point. The face in the mirror is unrecognizable. He is a stranger to himself in a world he does not recognize. Somehow he must get help, but as person without resources, his situation is dire. He manages to convince a friendly truck driver to take him to San Francisco. Tests at a hospital by a skeptical doctor reveal no physical abnormalities. He is advised to seek the help of the police or the media, but fearful of the consequences he finds he is unable to do this. He is then compelled to live the life of a homeless person. Over the next several years, his gradually discovers various aspects of his personality and managers to acquire friends and a job.
When he gives a eulogy at the funeral of a young graffiti artist he had met on the streets, he is recognized in a televised news story by a man from his former life. The man shows up in a private jet to take him to Houston, his home. The circumstances of his life there are vastly different from what it had been in San Francisco and he finds it repugnant. He now becomes determined to discover who he was in the hope of stimulating his mind to release his previous memories. The main roadblock to finding people who knew him was the life of secrecy he had lived before coming to Houston.
In time this hurdle is cleared when he meets someone in Houston who was close to him when he lived in Boston. This person puts him into contact with people he had grown up with. The protagonist immediately sets off for Boston, where he gathers clues about his childhood and his parents. But it’s not until he travels to the small village of River Run, Vermont, where the final devastating details are revealed.
The novel is in essence a detective story as well as a meditation on identity, as two personalities converge—the one of the man before the amnesia and the one after.
What happens when you become a totally different person?
About River Run