Doctor Olaf Van Schuler’s Brain is written as a series of short stories connected to one another through twelve generations of one family,. Each generation of the Steenwycks produces a doctor who in some fashion studies the intricacies of the brain. The writing is excellent and the stories are fascinating – some barbaric, some sad and some metaphorically significant, namely one titled, “A Spoonful Makes You Fertile”. I have to confess, however, that some of the metaphors eluded me.
Although short stories are not my favorite format, I had high hopes for this one because of the anticipated connection between the stories – I expected them to tie up very cleverly in the end. I was disappointed. I understood some of the motivations of the characters but not enough to make a correlation down the years. If there was a common theme between the generations aside from a very eccentric ancestral history and the practice of medicine, I missed it. That dissatisfaction aside I give this novel 3 ½ stars because of the superb writing.