Sunday, December 5, 2010

Book Review: "Memory Wall" by Anthony Doerr

Wow. This book really knocked me out. The six stories in Anthony Doerr's fantastic collection each deal with memory--what memories (and their loss) mean to us, how they move us and how conscious we are in the creation of new memories. (A character in the first story says "Remember a memory often enough and you can create a new memory, the memory of remembering.")

Each story has a wholly different premise and different main characters, and takes place in a completely difference place and time, from the lengthy opening story about a town in South Africa where doctors have developed a procedure to harvest memories from those suffering from dementia in the hopes of rebuilding some of the brain's connections, to the concluding story about a dying woman struggling with early memories of growing up in Nazi Germany. And each has its own power—some hit you between the eyes while some slowly build in your mind.

This is a tremendously well-written book that really has me thinking about my own memories. Doerr has done a fantastic job, and I can honestly say this is one of the best books I've read all year.


  1. The best book...hmmmm...I had never heard of it and now I think I will give it a chance. Did you read The Shell Collector?

  2. I've read all three of his novels, I believe, and loved every one of them.