The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner
To be published on Sept 6, 2015 by St. Martins Press
Source: copy for review from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School.
Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings.
'With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home.
What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home?
Review of The Memory of Things by Gae PolisnerI've lived in New York for a long time and am always a little afraid to read books like this. Has it really been fifteen years since that day? It feels like an eternity ago; it feels like yesterday.
The Memory of Things takes place on the morning of September 11, 2001, and opens as Kyle is fleeing from his downtown high school as the first tower falls.
I'd like to talk about the girl (without spoilers) because she's entwined in the story in ways that I had complicated feelings about.
The girl has some sort of memory loss, and her POV is inserted sporadically into the story as poetry. Regular blog readers know that I'm not at all a fan of narrative in verse, but I actually thought that translating the disjointed thoughts of an amnesia victim into poetry made a lot of sense. (I still didn't really love those parts, but thought it was a creative choice.)
Another strength of The Memory of Things was its attention to small details.
Kyle seemed to feel this way too, which is I guess the reason for the mystery girl. I must confess that I might have liked the story better without her, with just Kyle trying to hold his family together. But that's hard to say, since she is an integral part of the story.
If you enjoy books with lyrical or poetic elements, this is definitely a book for you. I remain a fan of Gae Polisner and look forward to her next book!