The Story of Forgetting--An international bestseller.
Update. The Story of Forgetting is a finalist for The 2009 Indies Choice Book Award for Best Author Discovery (Debut).
Update. The Story of Forgetting is the March 2009 Waterstone's (UK) Bookclub Choice of the Month.
The Story of Forgetting is a 2008 Independent (UK), St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Austin Chronicle Best Book of the Year
The Story of Forgetting is a 2008 School Library Journal Best Adult Book for High School Students The Story of Forgetting is on the shortlist for the 2008 Mercantile Library's John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize
The Story of Forgetting was chosen as "Best First Novel" in the 2008 Rome International Festival of Literature.
"[An] emotional roller coaster ... 'The Story of Forgetting' is as true to the anguish of [its] questions as it is ablaze with love and vitality ... Mr. Block taps into the life force that gives [his characters] a human, heart-wrenching answer ... a fresh, beguiling novel."
--From Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Block ... [is] actually sewing with great skill [the] Isidora fairly tales into the heart of the larger narrative. ... Concentrate now, savor the moment because this is a debut worth remembering."
-- From Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR
"I was blown away by Block's writing and by the idea of how we create the narratives of our lives out of the things we cannot leave behind, and the things we wish we could."
-- From Jodi Picoult, The Daily Beast
"The imaginative process by which we discover new worlds and, in returning, get a clearer glimpse of our own has found a brilliant metaphor in this debut novel by the young American writer Stefan Merrill Block....The separate parts of The Story of Forgetting create a structure that brilliantly incarnates Block's big question: what is memory? As we rattle through, gripped by the painful but also upbeat stories of hunchback and boy, and enchanted by each glimpse of Isidora, plot and meaning rise up silently behind us like a series of islands in our wake. These islands, which bring the fragments of the novel together, are also the questions to which this author invites us to turn: what are our memories? Where do they go? How do they come back to us, and why?"
-- From Natalie Sandison, The Times (UK)
"**** (out of four). What The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time did for autism, Block’s multi-layered debut—about the importance, and pain, of memory—acheives for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease"
-- From People Magazine
Anita Sethi:"Extremely moving and very beautifully written."
Boyd Hilton: "Incredibly satisfying."
Lemn Sissay: "I really, really enjoyed this book."
--From BBC Book Panel with Simon Mayo (UK)
"This assured and complex story is one of great sensitivity, awareness and beguiling experience... we receive a story that, like its characters, is difficult to predict at any point. And therein lies its essential vitality."
-- From Christopher Bantick, the Australian (AU)
"Magical and Scientific. Block…is a talent to celebrate and remember."
-- From Bob Minzesheime, USA Today
"...compassionate, heartbreaking, funny and consistently engaging ... prodigious research... informs and enriches this story. Yet [Block] never permits that research to eclipse the storytelling skills on display in this accomplished first novel."
-- From Harvey Freedenberg, Book Page
"... this astounding debut captures an air of the fantastical while presenting one family’s heartfelt battle with Alzheimer’s ... Block displays an innate gift for developing believable characters each with his own distinct voice. The result is a story that’s compulsive and transporting."
--From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Using allegory and fable, two cleverly contrasting narrators and a dash of science, The Story of Forgetting is a memorable read... tenderly written"
-- From Elisabeth Easther, New Zealand Herald (NZ)
"This intelligent, informed and compassionate book contains three stories in one, two interlocking tales of individuals dealing with extraordinary situations wrought by the disease in their family, common to both families, deftly woven into the narrative...The successful commingling of neurological data and artful storytelling makes for a compelling synthesis of science and literature...The evolving intracacies of these families are captivating, and as their mysteries become gradually disentagled, the book becomes hard to put down. No light summer fare, this complex work makes demands on the reader's attention, but is in the end highly rewarding."
-- From Dr. Christopher M. Filley, Neurology Today
"Blisteringly good ... The redemptive qualities of storytelling are gloriously displayed in this astonishing first novel, which confirms Block as a strong new talent."
--From Melissa Katsoulis, The Financial Times (UK)
"In using fiction to explore his personal fears, Block affirms that the novel can go deeper than the more straightforward, and probably lucrative, option of non-fiction misery literature... Block achieves more than sharing the pain with readers or begging for affection. His novel is a fascinating attempt to converse with Alzheimer's on his own terms, to accept the disease rather than feign a confrontation with it."
--From Alister McMillan, South China Morning Post (CN)
"...overflowing with meaning and vitality... ...a triumph of a novel...The Story of Forgetting is a book fizzing with creativity and ingenuity. Science and imagination unite to form a double helix of glorious finesse".
--From Charlie Lee-Potter, The Independent, Sunday Review (UK) (June 22, 2008)
"This is one of those rare works of near-genius... Block writes with the certainty and originality of a Nabokov or a Faulkner... A story about people, which is... touching, inventive and intelligent".
--From Virginia Ironside, The Independent (UK) (May 30, 2008)
"...compassionate, wildly inventive...Block has taken a bleak subject and fashioned a story of profound solace and charm."
--From Catherine Taylor, The Guardian (UK)
"Full of an unexpected hope and optimism... The concept of 'a world alongside this one' of fairy-tale and fantasy as a means by which the innocent and suffering may escape from cruel reality is an intriguing one, explored with confidence and compassion"
--From Amanda Craig, Daily Telegraph (UK)
"(A)...brilliantly audacious debut novel...A story that is ...filled with inventiveness and beauty. Block’s metaphors are particularly remarkable....A novelist faces a...balancing act: seal off your book too completely, and there’s no room for the reader to bring her own experiences to it; leave things too open-ended, and there’s no sense of gratification and resolve. Block negotiates this dilemma expertly, with a story of a unique condition -- the loss of memory -- which manages to seem both moving and universal."
-- From Andrea Walker, Barnes & Nobles Review (Featured Title)
"Author Stefan Merrill Block's first novel is a tour de force of interconnecting lives, complete with the history of a family curse, fables about a land of no remembrance and scientific studies on Alzheimer's disease...Abel and Seth are such fully-realized characters and their stories are so realistic that at times the reader can't help wondering how fictional they truly are. THE STORY OF FORGETTING is a marvelous and compelling read, filled with tragedy but also humor and hope --- and readers are sure to ponder the story long after they've finished it"
--From Terry Miller Shanon, Bookreporter.com
"Nuanced yet intensely personal literature ... [Block's] investment in vivid character development pays off handsomely in a tightly structured narrative that moves flawlessly from start to finish ... The brilliance of 'The Story of Forgetting,' poetic and spiritual, is undeniable."
-- From Steve Giegerich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Block creates the kind of stark, realistic characters sure to prompt eager comparisons to the 'heavies' of American literature...[A] triumphant debut....matches emotion on the page with writers twice his age"
--From Kirkus Reviews, 35 Promising Debuts
"'The Story of Forgetting' is an engrossing, well-written exploration of what it means to remember -- and forget."
-- From Lisa McLendon, The Wichita Eagle
"Stefan Merrill Block seems to have a knack for turning unpracticed steps into waltzes. "
-- From Ellen Matsushita, Chicago Tribune
"...fast-moving and raw without being emotionally heavy-handed: Block's characters share despair through apathy and awkwardness, not fireworks... Block tells an emotionally demanding tale with honesty and charm."
-- From Nathan Heller, Slate Magazine
"Block weaves together his disparate narrative strands with a deft hand, tingeing his tale with a lovely touch of the fantastic."
--From Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly
"STEFAN MERRILL BLOCK is a talent ... [he] can write big: By tracing [a] lineage through generations, he gives his narrative scope and power. But it’s the intimate moments—husbands, wives, sons, and daughters devastated by the effects of Alzheimer’s—that make The Story of Forgetting, well, unforgettable."
--From Mike Shea, Texas Monthly
"...what makes this novel special is Block’s grasp of the emotional devastation wrought by Alzheimer’s ... the melancholy that must accompany even the closest bonds once this disease has struck. A sensitive fictional interpretation of family tragedy."
--From Kirkus Review
"Funny ... inventive ... tender ... The Story of Forgetting may be about the slow erosion of memory, it's also a monument to memory, to how, long after the objects of our affection forget us, they still live on for us in heartrending, near-tactile detail."
--From Kimberley Jones, Austin Chronicle
"Here, for once, is a debut that doesn’t derail three-quarters of the way through, or irritate you with its precociousness ... Mr. Block has made something very beautiful out of something very ugly."
-- From Hillary Frey, The New York Observer