The Art of Forgetting is my fifth novel and was published in October 2015. At the heart of the story is a mystery: the disappearance of Linda, who set off for work one day and never arrived.
The story is told from two points of view. Judy is in her sixties and has Alzheimer’s. When she realises this, she resolves to write down the truth about what happened to her friend, more than forty years ago. Only she knows the events leading up to the disappearance and she does not want this knowledge to die with her memory of it.
Laura is Judy’s daughter. She finds Judy’s account of the mystery when she is clearing out her house after Judy becomes too ill to live alone. Unfortunately, the account is neither in one place nor is the latter part of it really coherent, so Laura and her sister Kelly decide to solve the mystery themselves.
The events that follow turn Laura’s life upside down and threaten her future, but the past has a powerful effect and nothing can be the same again until the mystery is solved.
I enjoyed writing this novel very much and I am pleased with how it turned out. It explores a number of serious issues, including dementia, but it also has a love affair and a mystery. I sometimes worry that readers will shy away from the content, believing it to be depressing, but I hope they will give it a try and discover that this is not the case.
This is the blurb
A missing girl. A secret decades old. Memories that re-surface, as bright as if they were yesterday. A mind slipping into confusion.
Judy is only in her sixties, but she recognises what is happening to her. She struggles to remember what happened yesterday, but the past, with the secret she has kept all these years, troubles her. She begins to write an account of the events leading up to a mystery that was never solved, but time is against her.
This is the story of what happens when Judy’s daughter Laura finds her account and resolves to solve the mystery that her mother has kept secret all these years. It is told against the backdrop of Judy’s increasing confusion and the new landscape in which she finds herself as the family has to take increasingly difficult decisions.
Laura’s own life is thrown into turmoil and what she finds out could cause shockwaves in the family and beyond. Now she is the keeper of a secret too, but what will she do with it?
This is my favourite review:
A beautifully written book, with an intriguing mystery at its heart. The voices of the characters are wonderfully crafted, and entirely believable. Judy’s illness is portrayed in a realistic way, with all the simultaneous humour, sadness and despair that it brings to both her and her family, but it doesn’t overwhelm the story. And when the resolution to the mystery comes, it’s genuinely unexpected. Too often the endings of books are an anti-climax, the so-called twists all too expected. Not so in this case.
I read the entire book in one sitting, through the night and into the dawn. No book has kept me that entranced for a very long time! Well done Julie McLaren!
Click here to go to The Art of Forgetting page on Amazon