V.'s Reviews > Memory Wall: Stories

Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
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's review
Jan 29, 12

Read from January 24 to 28, 2012

"Memory Wall" is a pretty extraordinary collection of short stories that will haunt well beyond the moment you finish the book. Anthony Doerr's vivid prose creates indelible images and remarkable characters. Women are the protagonists in many of the stories, with cultural references ranging from South Africa, to Asia, to Lithuania, to Middle America.

As the title suggests, the stories relate to the theme of memory - its transience, its preciousness, its fallibility. We treasure our memories, and yet they are all too often so easily lost to age and disease, and subject to any number of stressors. Our memories define us as the collection of our life experiences; who are we when we can no longer recall those experiences to mind?

My two favorite stories are "The River Nemunas" in which the main character, a 14-year-old Kansas orphan, finds herself living with her grandfather in Lithuania, and "Afterworld," in which a Holocaust survivor finds herself slipping between the memories of her past and her present. "Village 113" is pretty wonderful, too.

If I have any regret, it's that the collection isn't filled with more than the six stories and one bonus story.

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Quotes V. Liked

Anthony Doerr
“Memory is a house with ten thousand rooms; it is a village slated to be inundated." from "Village 113”
Anthony Doerr, Memory Wall

Anthony Doerr
“Draw the darkness ... and it will point out the light which has been in the paper all the while. Inside this world is folded another." from "Afterworld.”
Anthony Doerr, Memory Wall

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