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Memory wall : stories
Anthony Doerr
Adult Fiction DOERR

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In multiple O. Henry Prize-winner Doerr's latest (after Four Seasons in Rome), the presence and persistence of memory thematically binds stories set apart by vast distances of time and space. The title story finds a South African woman at the end of her life, taking part in a procedure that records her memories on cassettes; meanwhile, a pair of thieves rifles through the recordings, hoping to discover a secret her husband took to his grave. Bookending the collection is "Afterword," about a woman in her final days whose seizures take her back to her youth in a Nazi-era Hamburg orphanage. In between are a couple of domestic stories, one about a village's impending erasure by flood, and another about a teenage orphan adapting to life with her grandfather. Doerr has an incredible sense of language and a skill for crafting beautiful phrases and apt metaphors, but he doesn't always connect with his characters, a shortcoming most obvious in the first-person pieces. For the bulk of the collection, though, Doerr's prose brings home the weight of his troubling thesis, that "every hour... an infinite number of memories disappear, whole glowing atlases dragged into graves." (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Suppose you've entered the foreign territory of senile dementia and a surgical procedure could charge your brain's damaged neurons and make your memories available to you once again. That's the supposition behind "Memory Wall," the title story of Doerr's compelling new collection and the metaphorical underpinning for the five stories that accompany it. But rest assured, this is not magical realism. No shape shifting or prestidigitation takes place in these intensely observed narratives, which capture what poet Elizabeth Bishop has called "a mind thinking." That mind could belong to a 15-year-old girl from Kansas getting off a plane in Lithuania with a poodle (memorably) named Mishap, a nonagenarian Holocaust survivor with a seizure disorder, or a fertility-challenged couple in Idaho who must document their every move and who may or may not have finally achieved their objective. Acclaimed author Doerr (The Shell Collector) is equally at home in long and short form, as his numerous O. Henry Awards and presence in anthologies attest. Verdict This book is a gift to the memory-impaired reader in all of us. Reading it will recharge your neurons and stimulate a few memories of its own.-Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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