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The Angel of Forgetfulness

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  83 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
T.C. Boyle meets Isaac Bashevis Singer in a virtuoso act of storytelling

In his rollicking, colorful new novel, the celebrated Jewish American author Steve Stern interweaves three narratives about characters—two men and an angel—who take flight from their ordinary lives and are plunged into extraordinary circumstances. The story leaps through time and space from the Lower
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Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2005)
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Sarah Sammis
The Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern was one of those long-term wishlist books. It was on there long enough for me to forget the reason behind it's inclusion.

The plot synopsis certainly sounded promising: a struggling writer inherits the tattered, unfinished manuscript from his aunt. Saul must delve deep into his aunt's history in order to finish the book. Along the way he uncovers a romance between his aunt and a fallen angel.

Unfortunately the plot is tied up in an unnecessarily complicate
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David Slater
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Steve Stern is a genius. I previously raved about how hilarious and well-written I thought The Frozen Rabbi was. This is not the same kind of read. It's more challenging, but even more rewarding. It's a complex layering of three interlinked stories, one set in the early 1900's Lower East Side teeming with gangsters and flophouses, the other in the 1970's, featuring a young man's drug-addled odyssey--both involving the telling of a third story about a fallen angel. Ultimately it's about the human ...more
Anthony
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
So I have been lucky with the books I have randomly chosen this year and this is no exception. I really enjoyed this book. It is a fun trip through 3 stories that are not just intermingled by theme but by author, generation, and spirit. There is a great cultural tradition in the book I learned about and could try to tap into, as well as history I enjoyed in New York's LES immigrant population. Definitely worth picking up.
Josette
This has got to be my choice for favorite read of 2008. It called to me from a remainder shelf in my bookstore READ ME! Yiddish folklore, turn of century New York, Father/Son action, sex, one lost soul who eventually finds himself. Huzzah to Steve Stern for giving us this place to go
Caroline
Apr 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: april2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jen3n
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
This is a charmingly ludicrous story about three fellows hopping through time and one of them is an angel.

This is another one of my "beautiful and weird" books. Technically it would be classified as "magical realism," but I can't really think of too many works of fiction that aren't. From a certain standpoint.

It also seems to be another one of my "Sweet and Jewish" books. I appear to have a lot of those. From The Yiddish Policeman’s Union to Everything is Illuminated and A Plague of Dreamers; ma
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Tim Hicks
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Meh. It had some enjoyable moments, and some of the Yinglish made me laugh out loud.
But as I approached the end I found I didn't care what happened to any of the characters.

Occasionally I got frustrated with the layers of story-about-a-story-about-a-story. Sometimes it was the rambling on about Yiddish scholarship. Other times it was the Yiddish words that were not explained and couldn't be inferred from context.

At one point I wondered if the book was a series of exercises in writing techniqu
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Sarah
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three intertwined stories- 1920's Lower East Side immigrant life, 1960's commune farm life, and a magical realism Jewish mystical angel story.

The folksy cover (painted by Brad Holland) led me to think that the immigrant stories and the angel stories would be in the forefront, but in fact the sixties hippie commune life takes over and that was my favorite aspect.

These days, the lower east side has hippie ghosts as well as Jewish immigrant ghosts- nice to see a book that channels them both.





Josh
Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit-reading
The strangest thing... this was an enjoyable book comprised of three intersecting stories concerning a fallen angel across the ages.

About 75 pages from the finish I realized that if I lost the book I wouldn't care about finding out what ultimately happens with the story. So I quit reading it.

That's never happened before... strange.
Mimi
Aug 25, 2010 rated it liked it
really a 3.5 but a wonderful dark comic story within a story within a story, complicated flawed ecentric characters, all carrying out the same destiny. warning: it's helpful to know yiddish, but not essential to enjoy this somewhat shaggy dog story.
Fussnik
Jan 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
meh
Stephanie
I read this last year and I honestly can't remember if I finished it. I remember many parts of it, but not the end. That's why it got 2 stars.
Janet
Feb 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
practically unreadable.
Theresa
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
I liked Stern's book The Frozen Rabbi but didn't like this one.
Samweir
Jul 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
This was the first book I didn't finish. When I don't like a book I normally finish it. I made to page 117.
Becky
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was ok
More like Yiddish Theater meet magical realism. Didn't work for me...
Shannah
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
I couldn't get into caring about the characters enough to finish reading this one. Sorry!
Leslie
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Barry Bean
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Jan 22, 2016
Mark
rated it it was ok
Mar 26, 2014
wayne
rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2012
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Feb 19, 2010
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Stern was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1947, the son of a grocer. He left Memphis in the 1960s to attend college, then to travel the US and Europe — living, as he told one interviewer, "the wayward life of my generation for about a decade," and ending on a hippie commune in the Ozarks. He went on to study writing in the graduate program at the University of Arkansas, at a time when it included se ...more
More about Steve Stern
“The golem is for Franz Kafka big headache.." The ache, he confided, grew in Kafka's head, spreading throughout his bones, his joints swelling until there was no longer room in the writer's skin for both himself and the golem; then his skin split at the seams, and the creature burst forth like the Incredible Hulk, thereby expelling Kafka from his own body.

What do you have in common with Jews?" Svatopluk was whispering in my ear. "This, Kafka us asked at a crucial point in his life, and replies, 'I have nothing in common with myself, and should sit quietly in corner content that I can breathe.'"

Highly suggestible, I saw the monster born from Kafka's brain not as a magical or supernatural creation but a behaimeh member of the community that trafficked in the impossible. I saw the creature lumbering gumby-like behind his plodding master just as I had followed Svat, or poor dead Billy or Aunt Keni Shendeldecker, the only woman I'd ever loved; I saw the citizens of the rabbi's courtyard gossiping, making lame jokes about the golem's marriageability and his alleged prowess in bed.”
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