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Memories, truths, confusion?

The Wilderness - Samantha Harvey

It is difficult to review and grade this book, as I can see that it is cleverly constructed and perfectly illustrates the gradual demise and sense of confusion as Jake loses himself to dementia. On the other hand, it was very slow and I heaved a sigh of relief when I finally got to the end.


I was listening to an unabridged audiobook, somewhat tediously read, in a rather monotone drone. However, the fact that it was audio, and therefore much harder to backtrack when I got lost, actually added to the whole confused air of the novel. When Jake was trying to recall the word for something, if I couldn't find the word immediately, the narrator continued without me, leaving me feeling as if I was suffering the same loss.
Some of Jake's memories are facts, some, we learn towards the end, are false memories.


In his time he had been a capable architect, he had a son, Henry, now in the prison that he, himself had designed. His wife, Helen, has died and there is a daughter, Alice. He is currently married to his childhood friend, Eleanor, who "has waited 30 years for him, only to find he is lost" (quoted from memory as I do not have a written version.)


There are some clever themes that keep reappearing, the colour yellow, the sound of a gun shot and various references to cherry trees, cherries and falling blossom. Unfortunately my admiration for clever writing is not sufficient when I find a book too long and drawn out and am considering abandoning it as I stubbornly keep listening.
More fool me!


Other books I have read with a theme of Atzheimer's:
Still Alice by Lisa Genova (5 stars)
Memory Cage by Ruth Eastham (5 stars)