Book review: 'Theories of Forgetting' may not be meant to be und - New York News

Book review: 'Theories of Forgetting' may not be meant to be understood

Updated:
By University of Alabama Press. "Theories of Forgetting" is by Lance Olsen. By University of Alabama Press. "Theories of Forgetting" is by Lance Olsen.

By: Herb Scribner, Deseret News

"THEORIES OF FORGETTING," by Lance Olsen, University of Alabama Press, $22.95, 367 pages (f)

It's not surprising that “Theories of Forgetting” is a story worth forgetting.

Lance Olsen's novels tells three stories in a wacky, offbeat and ridiculous way that bring the reader down, around and through a rabbit hole of confusion. One story is of Alana, a filmmaker, another is of her husband, Hugh, and the last one a series of margin notes by Aila, Hugh's daughter. And it doesn't get any easier to understand from there.

The main problem with Olsen's book is that there's no easy way to begin reading. Both covers are the same, and page numbers start at both ends of the book, too. And while Hugh's story is written on one of the page with Aila's notes right beside, Alana's story is written on the opposite side of the page, causing the reader to flip the book entirely to read that story.

And while the layout is confusing in its own right, the stories, too, are unreadable. Hugh disappears from the world he's known, but he also brings up ideas from the world he has known, so there's no true understanding of where he is. Aila's tale is readable, since she's only writing notes, but even her notes don't always connect with the story. Alana's journal-like story is the best of the bunch, but ultimately it starts to get more and more confusing toward the end.

Olsen does save himself by adding some memorable quotes - like “Somebody will always be waiting for you who doesn't know he or she is waiting for you” - and does do well to show a familial connection.

But the book is hard to understand and keep up with to make it an enjoying read. There's a fair amount of curse words, too, and it does touch on some heavier themes that might be too deep for such a lightly written and off-beat novel. It's no question if Olsen settled on one of these stories and developed it more, then this novel would be fantastically done.

That might be the point of this, though. Life is a confusing and unsorted mess. And like Olsen’s story, maybe we’re not meant to understand it all.


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
  • Suspect arrested in dismembered Brooklyn woman murder case

    Suspect arrested in dismembered Brooklyn woman murder case

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:08 AM EDT2014-07-24 12:08:03 GMT
    Police say they arrested and charged a suspect in connection with the murder of a Brooklyn woman whose body parts were discovered in Bay Shore. Suffolk County homicide squad and the US Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Leah Cuevas, 42, on Wednesday night. Cuevas lived on 346 Sumpter Ave. in Brooklyn, the same address as the victim, Chinelle Latoya Thompson Browne, 27. Cuevas was charged with second-degree murder and held overnight at Suffolk's Fourth Precinct.
    Police say they arrested and charged a suspect in connection with the murder of a Brooklyn woman whose body parts were discovered in Bay Shore. Suffolk County homicide squad and the US Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Leah Cuevas, 42, on Wednesday night. Cuevas lived on 346 Sumpter Ave. in Brooklyn, the same address as the victim, Chinelle Latoya Thompson Browne, 27. Cuevas was charged with second-degree murder and held overnight at Suffolk's Fourth Precinct.
  • Bratton: 'not happy'

    NYPD identify suspects in raising of white flags at Brooklyn Bridge

    NYPD identify suspects in raising of white flags at Brooklyn Bridge

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-07-24 11:48:41 GMT
    The NYPD says they have identified the suspects for the major security breach that had white flags replace the American flags at the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most highly secured landmarks in New York City, according to the New York Post. Police say they only know the suspects by nicknames, not their legitimate names. They are working on getting their names in order to bring the suspects in for questioning. The Post says nearly three dozen detectives were on the case. 
    The NYPD says they have identified the suspects for the major security breach that had white flags replace the American flags at the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most highly secured landmarks in New York City, according to the New York Post. Police say they only know the suspects by nicknames, not their legitimate names. They are working on getting their names in order to bring the suspects in for questioning. The Post says nearly three dozen detectives were on the case. 
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices