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The Story of Forgetting

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  1,966 Ratings  ·  362 Reviews
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. Hundreds of miles to the south, in Austin, Seth Waller is a teenage “Master of Nothingness”—a prime specimen of that gangly breed of adolescent that vanishes in a puff of sarcasm at t ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2008)
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Gregory Baird
Apr 18, 2008 Gregory Baird rated it really liked it  ·  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
Apr 03, 2008 Peggy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2007 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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,
May 28, 2008 Ruby rated it really liked it  ·  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
THE Story of Forgetting is a very underrated story. A young boy discovers his mother is struggling with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. She is placed in a home for care and the boy sets to work discovering the family history to determine whether he will be the same as his mother when he reached 35. This book is really well-written and although it didn't amaze me, I definitely felt something. It's an easy read and the story of family and uncovering the past is lovely. However I am in no hurry to ...more
Mar 27, 2008 Maya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-2008
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
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.
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!
Katherine Marple
"The Story of Forgetting" is told from nearly four perspectives:

-The first is an elderly, disfigured Abel recounting on the love of his life (also his twin brother's wife) and his mom.
-The second is the "teenaged" version of Seth, telling in present tense what he researched and felt while his mom was developing early onset Alzheimer's disease at her age of 35.
-The third perspective is all of the medical jargon- the back history that scientists and researchers discovered to find the earliest v
Jun 02, 2009 Sherrie rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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
Jul 30, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
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
May 05, 2009 Huda rated it really liked it  ·  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
Susan Henn
May 19, 2010 Susan Henn rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-fiction
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
Jul 04, 2009 Joycap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 27, 2009 Marisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Linda Anderson
Aug 04, 2013 Linda Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 17, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
øh, HALLO FOR EN GOD BOG! Den har stået på min hylde og samlet støv i 2,5 år, og jeg havde faktisk overvejet at skille mig af med den. Heldigvis gjorde jeg ikke det, for hvor var det en fantastisk, hjerteknusende, informerende, sød bog! Det er nok en af mine absolut bedste læsninger i år, hvis ikke nogensinde. Den gav så utrolig meget, og jeg vil anbefale den til alle jeg kender fra nu af
Jun 09, 2009 tammi rated it it was amazing  ·  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!
Apr 10, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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...)
Mădă Kruppa
"Creierul nostru este plin de speranță."
Louise Iversen
Sep 11, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 25, 2016 Line rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Årets råd: Læs den!!
This. Book. Is. Great.
So much better than I was expecting/hoping it would be! I love being pleasantly surprised by books, especially random ones, and this one did not disappoint!

This being the author's first novel (at the time; now it's nine years old!), felt like a complete contradiction; usually it takes several books for an author to come into his own distinct, descriptive, and wholly satisfying style of writing, but not Stefan Merrill Block! He mastered this feat with his first novel!
Jen Pearlstein
Jun 02, 2017 Jen Pearlstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really appreciated the multiple narratives in this story and how they came together. I found the balance between science and fiction captivating. This was a sad and touching story, and yet it was told in a delicate and beautiful way.
Anna In
May 27, 2017 Anna In rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
nu am citit decat o singura pg si m a plictisit , oribila !Dupa parerea mea nu merita nici macar o stea
Meg O'ryan
These characters took a while to worm their way into my heart, but by the end of this book they'd managed it and I'm sad to see them go.

The concept of Isadora resonates with me, a combination of The Mysterious Cities of Gold cartoons from my childhood and Narnia. Possibly more the latter than the former, since I am currently reading Prince Caspian and am tangentially involved in the fandom. Perhaps, too, it resonates because it's a metaphor for things that are lost to us?

Aug 28, 2014 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meine Meinung

Seth ist ein pubertierender Junge, der mit mangelnden Selbstbewusstsein und einer sich ausbreitenden Akne zu kämpfen hat. Zudem verliert seine Mutter, langsam aber sicher den Verstand. Sie leidet mit Mitte dreißig an einer Alzheimer Frühform und ist dazu verdammt sich rückwärts zu entwickeln bis sie irgendwann einmal das Atmen vergessen wird.

Da es in dieser (fiktiven) Form des Alzheimers eine genetische Komponente gibt, macht sich Seth auf die Suche nach ihren und damit auch seinen
Mar 02, 2017 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This took me awhile to get into. It was like two different stories under one cover until you finish the book and see the connections. It is really about early onset Alzheimers and how a boy who tries to find a way to see if it runs in families; and if it did, what would be his chances of getting it. This story is intertwined with the story of an illicit love, tells points out the only through the loss of something precious can we understand the value of what remains.
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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
More about Stefan Merrill Block...

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“...that the basic transaction of life itself was a sad, endless amalgam of public endurance and private indulgence.” 6 likes
“There weren't words for it. It was like trying to photograph a sunset or telling the story of a dream dreamt, a private intensity, and attempts at its reproduction could only be met with a shrug.” 3 likes
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