Picks and Pans Review: The Story of Forgetting

UPDATED 04/28/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/28/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

By Stefan Merrill Block | [

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REVIEWED BY LIZA NELSON

FICTION

What The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time did for autism, Block's multilayered debut—about the importance, and pain, of memory—achieves for early-onset Alzheimer's disease. In Austin, Texas, teenage Seth uses science to help him cope with his mother's worsening memory loss. Hundreds of miles away, rancher Abel cannot forget his dead brother, an Alzheimer's casualty, and his brother's wife, whom Abel loved. Most of all he cannot forget his niece, a runaway he suspects may really be his child. Author Block's family history is rife with early-onset Alzheimer's, a reality that proves disturbingly fertile ground for his fiction. As Seth researches the genetics of his family's strain of Alzheimer's and Abel fights to maintain his independence despite encroaching suburbia, their stories gradually converge until family love trumps genes.

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