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The Long Forgotten

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  61 reviews
When the black box flight recorder of a plane that went missing 30 years ago is found at the bottom of the sea, a young man named Dove begins to remember a past that isn't his. The memories belong to a rare flower hunter in 1980s New York, whose search led him around the world and ended in tragedy.

Restless and lonely in present-day London, Dove is quickly consumed by the
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 22nd 2018 by Picador
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  217 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Liz Barnsley
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. It was one of those that immediately absorbed me and was so beautifully written and so hauntingly evocative of so many things that you just sink into it. It was also one of those that leaves you vaguely bereft when you have to leave it behind.

This is a real book journey with some very life affirming and emotional themes within the pages. I loved Dove, his random strange memories that make him wonder if he is going mad and the flashbacks we see to Peter, a cleaner of
Have you noticed how many botanical titles and covers are out there this year? If you appreciate this publishing trend as much as I do, and especially if you enjoyed Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, I can highly recommend The Long Forgotten. David Whitehouse’s third novel features plant hunting everywhere from Chile to Namibia, but it opens underwater: Professor Jeremiah Cole is in a submersible 200 miles west of Perth, Australia. He’s running out of oxygen down there when he collides with a ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, fiction
2.5 stars. This was well-written and different, which would normally get a much higher rating from me. I just couldn't connect to any of the characters, this could be because I read this with many interruptions, but probably also has something to do with the layout of the book. Told from three points of view, we're not sure how these stories connect to each other until the last chapter. The facts about the rare flowers were interesting, and I liked the writing, very descriptive, without being ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having just had a close relative pass away from Alzheimer's I wasn't sure a book based around the infallibility vs fallibility of human memory was going to be particularly good for me, however, avoiding these type of subjects is also a mistake, as you simply can't do that forever. Luckily, although this story brought back many special memories for me I also very much enjoyed the escapism I got from reading it, and it felt like a very unique way to address issues of love, family relationships, ...more
Claire McAlpine
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I couldn't help but be seduced by the stunning cover (by @saraharnett) of David Whitehouse's The Long Forgotten. The cover shows a number of rare flower blooms and the embossed outline of a whale.

Apart from being a brilliant, unputdownable read, I continuously referred back to that image on the cover with total pleasure trying to deduce which flower it was we were tracking down next.

The Long Forgotten refers to a flight that disappeared 30 years ago, and it could also refer to the list of
Karen Mace
Astonishing. Memorable. Touching.

Just a few of the words I noted down whilst reading this. This is my first David Whitehouse novel and will not be my last! I loved the originality of this story, the beautiful writing style and the journey it took the characters on, as well as taking me on an unforgettable journey as a reader.

Very difficult to sum this up other than this is a book about memories and about finding yourself. There is also a mystery at the heart of this story when the black box of
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once in a while, a novel comes along that is so fresh and unassumingly original that it floats way above the landscape of current new releases.

That's how I feel about this novel. The Long Forgotten is the name of a plane that crashed near the coast of Cornwall 30 years ago. When the black box is recovered, strange things begin to happen in the life of a young man called Dove. He begins to recall memories that aren't his.

Dove slowly remembers pieces of the life of Peter, one of three hunters of
Joanna Park
Firstly let me say something about the absolutely stunning cover for this book. The variety of colours of the flowers against a black background really draws the eye. I can see a lot of people picking up this book for the cover!

This is such a beautiful book for many different reasons. I loved the characters in the book and the journey, literally at times, that they go on. All of them are lonely characters, on the fridges of society. They are sleep walking through life, just trying to get by with
Ronnie Turner
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dove Gale was an orphan, left on a doorstep in a moses basket, abandoned by his parents. As a young boy he was taken in by Maud and Len, an elderly couple who bestowed on him an unlimited source of love, kindness and care. They soothed his restless mind and tamed the anger and fear he felt at being abandoned once more. They loved him, taught him and welcomed him into their shared world. And in Len and Maud, he found a mother and a father. Now Dove is an emergency services control room operator, ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to do that in this case. David Whitehouse has truly presented a superb work of art through The Long Forgotten, both inside and out. An intricate and completely refreshing story is woven into a polished, easy to read narrative that is mesmerizing. Apart from poetic prose and breath-taking imagery, Whitehouse has created characters that are unconventional and display enormous depth. The result is a marvelous experience that is moving, ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Dove is a young man working for the London Ambulance Service. He starts getting these migraine like headaches that take him into the memories of someone else from three decades ago. The narrative follows Dove, an orphan adopted by foster parents, and Peter, whose memories are invading Dove's mind. This was a lovely exploration of love, loss and memory.
Suraj Kumar
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
‘The Long Forgotten’ is an account of memories buried deep down in the past. The long forgotten is actually the name given to the flight that went missing in 1983 on its way from Jakarta to London. The story starts when the black box recorder of this flight is discovered after 30 years.

While the discovery starts the incomplete investigation concerning this missing flight, a young man named Dove starts getting flashbacks of a past that belongs to someone else. Leading a lonely life, Dove finds
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
All of my reviews can be found on

There are multiple threads to this novel, and it wasn’t immediately clear how they were connected. Firstly, there is Dove – a young man working in ambulance dispatch who was abandoned as a baby. Whilst he was taken in by a loving older couple, the emotional scars that he bears as a result of his abandonment and not knowing his birth parents are easy to see, and I felt a great deal of sympathy for Dove as he feels the need to keep other
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite an unusual story, full of quirky characters and unbelievable flowers (some of them I have heard about before!) The story flows slowly, with more than a few intertwining unlikely circumstances, a few too many to be rightly so but still quite intriguing enough to make me smile and forgive.
The quality of writing is excellent, the metaphors and feelings were so exacting and lifelike - I wondered how so many parts could be described so well that I knew exactly what was meant.
I will definitely
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the third novel by David Whitehouse, and the first one I've read, and I have to say I was very impressed. It's such an original story, told in an original way, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. To begin with, it reminded me a bit of Paul Auster or Haruki Murakami, but its emotional intensity also reminded me of Matt Haig or Rachel Joyce. It begins with the accidental recovery of a black box from a plane that went missing in the 1980s, found by a misanthropic professor in the belly of a whale ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Other people’s memories are never your own , no matter how much you might think they are. But you can still share them.

If one hasn’t guessed by the above quote and the book’s title, David Whitehouse’s third novel focuses on memory. Saying that Whitehouse goes about this in a unique way.

The first instance of memory is during the first chapter when a botanist discovers a black box recorder in a whale. As we all know the black box recorder is the ultimate memory machine and this discovery leads us
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
‘He told him the story from the beginning, hoping for nothing more than to make it to the end. And as the words left his mouth, it was as though they were being deleted from his memory.’

A man is trapped in a submersible on the seabed off the coast of Australia when a whale gets tangled in the cables and brings it to the surface. When the whale dies it is cut open and in its stomach is found the black box flight recorder of a plane that crashed 30 years ago. Meanwhile, in London a man called Dove
Becky Finlayson
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The immortality of memories defies all rationale in this bountifully enchanting time capsule of a book.

From the discovery of the missing black box recorder belonging to The Long Forgotten flight PS570, to a whole world of possibilities nestled inside the pages of a deserted library book, the more I read the more I needed to read.

Three distinct trails of happenstance are signposted throughout and are guided by a map of displaced memories. They travel full circle before resting at journey’s end,
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of a monthly book subscription and would never have picked it out myself. The blurb on the back made it seem like it wouldn't be my thing (it seemed like it was going to be some kind of mystery/love story...which it is, kinda...but not in the way I thought it was going to be). I'm glad I read it—the plot is so original and compelling. I wanted just a bit more, but I know all good things must come to an end. I also discovered some new flowers…I had to look everything ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like a few reviews I read of this book, I choose it because of it's stunning cover. Usually I am not swayed by that kind of thing but it is truly beautiful and the blurb not bad plus the reviews good.

A great read with an unusual plot I have contemplated what to rate it. I always want to give books 5 stars initially and this was no different. Maybe it deserves it but today is the start of 2020 and I want to stick to my ratings. A wonderful book but is it absolutely amazing? A sliver of doubt
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a truly beautiful read this book was. It was such pleasure to read every word of this unique story. The characters will live on in my memory and I’m looking for more books by this author. Exceptional
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and am sad it's finished. It took me a while to get into the way it was written with the different time frames and characters but it was very cleverly written and kept me guessing till the end. Loved all the flower references and learnt a thing or two along the way
Carlos Vasconcelos
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very promising writer.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won't forget this beautifully written novel by David Whitehouse. It is so original and so haunting I fell under its spell and couldn't stop reading it. Now, it's one of my favorites.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Hard to get attached to any of the characters. Somewhat far fetched air crash story & survival of said air crash.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Decent prose but I couldn't make myself care for any of the characters, or the rather whimsical story.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't think I would enjoy this book as much as I did. Read it in one weekend. Would absolutely recommend it.
Siluni Thiyumila
This is the best book I have ever read. The author took an unusual topic and made a wonderful novel about it. I just loved how he used flowers in the book. the plot twists were great.
Emma Radford
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful - love the way it all intertwined. Bit like David Mitchell.
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David Whitehouse is an award-winning novelist, journalist, and screenwriter. His first novel, Bed, winner of the 2012 Betty Trask Prize, has been published in fourteen countries. He writes regularly for The Guardian and The Times, and is currently the editor-at-large of ShortList magazine. He lives in London.