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The Story of Forgetting: A Novel
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The Story of Forgetting: A Novel

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,584 ratings  ·  321 reviews
In Stefan Merrill Block’s extraordinary debut, three narratives intertwine to create a story that is by turns funny, smart, introspective, and revelatory.

Abel Haggard is an elderly hunchback who haunts the remnants of his family’s farm in the encroaching shadow of the Dallas suburbs, adrift in recollections of those he loved and lost long ago. As a young man, he believed
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Published April 1st 2008 by Random House (first published January 1st 2008)
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Gregory Baird
May 15, 2008 Gregory Baird rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Jonathan Safran Foer or Nicole Krauss
“Could there be anything more sad and more lonely than remembering what terrible things the future will bring?”

In his ambitious debut novel Stefan Merrill Block shows off the wide range of his talent. “The Story of Forgetting” combines elements of science, history, and fable into four storylines that weave together to tell a single story. And it works, for the most part. I can see how some may have been turned off by the quirky nature of Block’s storytelling or grown bored with the genetic his
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Peggy
Some books are easy: they engage your head with strong characters and/or good storytelling, but somehow miss connecting with your heart. That's not necessarily a bad thing--I'm wholly in favor of reading for the sheer fun of it, and every book isn't going to connect with every reader.

But some books...some books are hard. They hit you in the gut, and once they have you, they don't let go. You can still get the strong characters and the good storytelling, but this time they're wedded to a plot or
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Ruby
Aug 09, 2008 Ruby rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially lovers of myth and anyone who's been touched by Alzheimer's
Shelves: fiction
If I didn't really like this book, I'd hate Stefan Merrill Block. The kid – and yes, I mean kid – was born in 1982, as his book jacket brags. He's still in his 20's. And this book is good, not good like macaroni art is good, or good like that time that your 12-year-old cooked you pancakes and forgot the eggs, it's bona fide good. Maybe it's not great, but jeez, he's gotta have something to shoot for, right?

Block creates a familial mythology that is interwoven with a genetic disease, an imagined
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Amy
I’ve been reading poetry almost exclusively for about three years running, so I was both excited and a little wary upon picking up The Story of Forgetting, Stefan Merrill Block’s debut novel. It had been so long since I’d read so many words at one go…I guess I’d forgotten how one can become immersed in a story, carried effortlessly along by fictional devices like plot & character. Luckily, Block’s novel provided an immediate reminder of such pleasures.

The novel’s strengths lie in the clear,
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Nojood Alsudairi
A very informative novel about a unique kind of alzahimer that attacks young people. It is inherited, thus young people see their future downfall in the lives of their fathers or mothers. How parents comfort their children with an imagenary world, which goes in parallel with reality, that begins as enchanting, develops to be chaeotic and ends with hope, is a brilliant idea.
I wonder why such unheard of diseases are emerging out of no where. One cannot but wonder whether they are man made!
Heather Marsiglia
Although before starting this book I was emotionally involved in its subject matter, having lost an uncle to Alzheimer's Disease, I still think this is one of the best books I have ever read. I would recommend this book to just about anyone. I will admit the ending had me wanting a firmer resolution. I wanted everyone to be ok- but true to life, that's not how stories end. I loved the mix of “true life”/fiction, science, and fairytale. The writing is excellent.
Bucket
This is a story that hits pretty close to home for me, and I was very moved by the multiple ways that the author tries to understand, and accept, the tragedy of early-onset Alzheimer's.

I found the writing a little slow and labored (and I don't often find stories too slow) but because of the subject matter, I absolutely forgive this. I really felt part of the author's personal journal to come to terms even more than I felt lost in the story itself.

He uses the voice of an old man, an outcast but
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Sherrie
Jun 15, 2009 Sherrie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sherrie by: Library e-mail
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
At first thought, one might say who wants to read about the depressing subject of Alzheimer's, especially the genetic early-onset kind that is so tragic? In contrast, the book is a compelling tale of love and making sense of love in the face of loss, on the one hand by a boy whith a mother with the disease and on the other by an old man whose one love of his life was afflicted. The author Block engagingly weaves their tales together, interspersed with fables about Isadora, a land where memory lo ...more
Maya
It seems strange to describe a novel about early-onset Alzheimer's as a compelling read, but there you go: it is.

I have to confess that Alzheimer's ranks right up there among Diseases I'm Petrified That I Might Get--I can't imagine anything more terrifying than to slowly lose my mental faculties. And it so happens that I'm vaguely acquainted with a family in which the mother experienced this terrible disease beginning when the youngest of her children was still in high school.

The novel strikes
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Huda
May 25, 2009 Huda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Huda by: Mrs.NJD
Shelves: english-books
هذا الكتاب غريب نوعا ما
ينقلنا بشكل متقطع بين مشهدين
الأول هو لـ آبيل ؛ الأحدب الذي يعيش مع أخيه وزوجة أخيه
وابنته من (زوجة الأخ)، التي تقرر فجأة -بعد أن تسوء ظروف العائلة - أن تترك المنزل بلا عودة
وبين المشهد الثاني لـ سيث ؛ المراهق الذي أصيبت والدته بمرض الزهايمر المبكر
ورحلته العلمية في فهم مايجري لها بعد أن نقلها والده إلى دار رعاية
كنت مشتتة قليلا في البداية بين المشهدين ولكن سرعان ما اكتشفت الرابط بينهما

امم بالرغم من أن قرائتي لهذا الكتاب كانت على عجل إلا أنها أثارت فضولي للتعرف عن قرب على الزها
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Susan Henn
5/10 A talented young author's first book. The story is told flipping back and forth through the eyes of two characters. One character is an old man who has experienced a great deal of loss in his life including the loss of his brother and mother to early onset familial Alzheimer's. The other character is a precocious teenage boy whose mom is dying from the same disease. The boy sets out to discover the mysteries of his mom's past by pretending to compile information about the disease for a lead ...more
Linda
It took me, what felt like forever, a few months to finally get through it one of the only reasons I finally did was because my husband insisted that I finish it. lol.

I had a really hard time getting through it. I think that in places there was far too much detail than necessary and the fact that the story is written in 2 different perspectives and then in medical dialogue/history for some. By the middle of the book though I started to understand why it was written in this form but again, I was
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Marjorie Elwood
For a good writer, this was a really annoying book. A novel tracing the genetic line of a strain of early-onset Alzheimer's, I found it fascinating, compelling, and beautifully written. Unfortunately, every chapter or so, there was a portion about the "Land of Isidora," where everyone lives without memories until a girl from Earth shows up to infect everyone with memories. I felt like writing the author and telling him that his work is beautiful without throwing in a daft ploy like this....
Joycap
This is a memorable journey concerning the process of forgetting. I enjoyed the rich characters and the weaving of scientific facts concerning early onset Alzeheimers along with a bit of fantasy thrown in for good measure. Amazing to learn that this is a first novel presented by a young man in his late twenties with incredible insight into the emotions of both the caregiver and the sufferer. I wish I had read it while dealing with my father's dimentia.
Marisa
i really enjoyed this book. it was fascinating and heart-wrenching and not overly depressing, if that can be said of a story (really, a number of stories) about incredible loss. i love the way the two major narratives came together, but even moreso, the sideline stories, the historical tone, the interweaving of myth, and the artful integration of science made this novel a unique, compelling, and unforgettable read.
Corielle
I totally admit that I picked this book because the back cover mentioned a hunchback. Luckily, it turned out to be quite a good read (I've been on a good streak lately!)

The Story of Forgetting weaves three narratives together. First is that of Abel Haggard, a hermetic hunchback living out his last days alone (well, with his house), on a shitty little farm in the the middle of a subdivision somewhere outside Dallas. Abel reminisces a lot about his life, specifically about his brother and his brot
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Linda Anderson
The Story of Forgetting; a very well titled book. My aunt has Alzheimer's, so the book took on a special meaning. I loved the story within a story; a fantasy explanation of what was happening. I like the way the author mixed a bit of science within the story. I also enjoyed how it all came together. A very good read.
tammi
Jun 09, 2009 tammi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to tammi by: Book Club read for June
One of the most amazing books! I was apprehensive due to the subject matter-Alzheimer's-but was amazed at how the book took me down a delightful road. The mythical tale added a whole level to the book. Highly recommended!
Jen
Amazing read, the protagonist is as much memory itself as the various memory-inflicted characters in the book. Think this one will stick in the recesses of my brain for a while (ahh, memory, again...)
Kate
One of the best books I've read this year. I think I may have cried my way through the entire book - but it was unbelievably beautifully written.
Thais
Le storie parallele di Abel e Seth, il primo un vecchio gobbo che vive dei ricordi e dei rimorsi del passato, il secondo un ragazzino devastato dall'acne che combatte contro l'Alzheimer della madre. Diverrà presto chiaro che cosa li accomuna, ma non starò qui a rivelarvelo. Sullo sfondo, la storia della malattia, di come si è diffusa di generazione in generazione, raccontata in modo talvolta scientifico (ma senza mai diventare troppo tecnico o noioso), talvolta sottoforma di fiaba che viene tram ...more
Janelle
"I wanted only to comfort the boy, to say something that might explain anything. But what? To say that I was a person who had once fallen in love with everything, and what else could I have done? Or to say that all of my attempts to find a way to live had ended up becoming my life? Or to say that I had waited so long that I had almost forgotten there was something I was waiting for, that waiting itself nearly became the point?"

My absolute favorite part of this book isn't even part of the story.
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Nancy
In Stefan Merrill Block’s extraordinary debut, three narratives intertwine to create a story that is by turns funny, smart, introspective, and revelatory.

Abel Haggard is an elderly hunchback who haunts the remnants of his family’s farm in the encroaching shadow of the Dallas suburbs, adrift in recollections of those he loved and lost long ago. As a young man, he believed himself to be “the one person too many”; now he is all that remains. Hundreds of miles to the south, in Austin, Seth Waller is
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Carole

Abel Haggard, 70, all alone on his farm in Texas, lives on memories of the family he has lost. Once he lived there with his brother, who had Alzheimer's disease, his brother's wife and their daughter. But since they've been gone, he has steadily sold bits of his farmland to the developers who have built 'mansions' all around him, his house is now ramshackle and he is just waiting...........

Hundreds of miles away, 15 year old Seth Waller (who's ambition is to be a Scientist) lives with his mother
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Ami
Just finished this. I randomly picked this book up in Boston and began to read it while also trying to read A Voyage Long and Strange. Both were very interesting, but something about this one struck me. The narrative of the character, Abel, had bore an uncanny resemblance to the narrative of one of my closest friends. I read on, at one point, allowing myself to dream that she had perhaps written the book under a pseudonym. (She didn’t. To my knowledge anyway.) But the way in which each sentence ...more
Jake Rideout
This is my favorite book cover of all time. Normally that would be enough to convince me to read the book, but this one is not my kind of novel--it's about two men, Alzheimer's, and Texas...none of which are things I normally read about (see below for confirmation). I read this because Stefan Merrill Block is a hilarious and awesome person, which I learned at a BEA luncheon in May. I'm really glad I read it. The book is about Abel, a hunchbacked old man who has lost his twin brother to familial ...more
Stephanie
Faces. Stories. Events. Places. Dates. Each person has a unique knowledge of a range of these discrete little pieces of knowledge. Arguably, it’s the very way that we knit these data together that makes us who we are. After all, without these facts, without memory, there would be little left. Worse still than the loss of these memories would be the loss of the ability to create new ones coupled with the loss of the basic human functions that we take for granted. Speech. Writing. Movement.

It’s no
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Fruchtfleisch
Ein Buch eines jungen Autors, das erstaunlich professionell aufgezogen ist und ein schwieriges, oft verschämt verschwiegenes Thema sanft und mit distanzlosem Zartgefühl in das Licht der Aufmerksamkeit rückt.

Der deutsche Titel und Klappentext, beide versuchen, vermeintlich verkaufshemmende Begriffe wie "Krankheit, Tod, Vergessen... Alzheimer" zu verschweigen, wie ich denke, verliert Dumont so aber eine potentielle Leserschaft.

Block zeichnet gefühlvoll Charaktere, die mit dem Vergessen Probleme ha
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Jenny
Stefan Merrill Block's debut novel ambitiously explores the effect familial Alzheimer's has on one Texan family, revealing both the burdens and freedoms that result from the memory-devouring disease. The novel is a conglomeration of fictional narrative, fable, scientific fact, and historical fiction.

When teenager Seth's mother is diagnosed with familial Alzheimer's, a form of the disease which will take her memory and her life much earlier than usual, he is determined to trace his family's roots
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Born in 1982, Stefan Merrill Block grew up in Texas. His first novel, The Story of Forgetting, won Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature, the 2008 Merck Serono Literature Prize and the 2009 Fiction Award from The Writers’ League of Texas. The Story of Forgetting was also a finalist for the debut fiction awards from IndieBound, Salon du Livre and The Center for Fiction ...more
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