Monday, November 23, 2015

The Great Forgetting by James Renner

Jack Felter's father is suffering from dementia and his sister fears his final days are on their way. So Jack packs up and returns to his tiny hometown of Franklin Mills. It's not exactly a welcome homecoming for Jack. He's avoided Franklin Mills ever since his girlfriend married his best friend. Yes, that's right, Jack's girlfriend, Sam, married Jack's best friend, Tony. And now Tony is missing. 

Tony's been gone for three years now and Sam is ready to move on. Without a body, though, the police won't allow Tony to be declared dead. Here's where Jack comes in: Sam is sure that Tony offed himself in the local lake and appeals to Jack for help. If he can find the body, Sam can collect on the life insurance. Then she won't lose everything she's worked for in the time since Tony abandoned her. 

Jack agrees and arranges for a diver who does indeed turn up a body. And that's when things get really complicated. And weird. 

You should know that this is not an easy book to sum up, especially without giving too much away. It involves history, some insane conspiracy theories (conspiracy theories that do exist!) and memory as we perceive it. It's a twisty turny read that will likely head in directions that you won't expect - or at least I didn't - it starts with an Epilogue for goodness sake!

From the start we do know that Jack is not looking forward to running into Sam. You might question, then, why he would be so willing to help her out (per the synopsis above). Well, present day Jack keeps things close for a while but Franklin Mills does force him to confront issues from his past, like his relationships with Sam and Tony. Through flashbacks we discover how they all met, how the relationships formed, and what ultimately went wrong. We also get flashbacks from a few other characters, all of which - and whom - move the story along quite brilliantly.

I'm going to stop there because I'm really too afraid of spoiling it. I've already removed quite a few things from this post that I thought would do exactly that so I know any more time I spend trying to write this risks even more potential surprise ruining quips.

I will say that I'm an unabashed fan girl for James Renner's fiction. His debut, The Man From Primrose Lane, is one any regular reader of the blog has seen pop up quite a bit - lots of TTT topics like authors who deserve more attention, all time favorites, etc. That book blew me away and left me waiting with baited breath to see what Renner would have in store for readers the next go around. And while Man set the bar pretty high as far as expectations go, I have to say that The Great Forgetting more than lived up to those expectations.

Like Man, The Great Forgetting is another genre bender. It's part sci-fi, part mystery, and part a few other things. They're the hardest books to describe but, in my opinion they're often the most fabulous of reads.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 5/5

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