Caroline Adderson's debut novel, A History of Forgetting
, traces an uncommon path, beginning in a Vancouver hair salon and winding up at the site of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. The book opens with hairstylist Malcolm Firth joining Faye's of Kerrisdale, a salon that caters to an aging clientele, at the same time that his aging partner, Denis, is slipping into the cruel arms of Alzheimer's. When Faye sells the shop, it morphs into a super-hip, urban salon staffed by the usual downtown clichés and casualties, including Alison, a young apprentice who shares the narration with Malcolm as their worlds begin to collide.
Malcolm stays at the salon and continues to service his blue-rinse brigade, and he and Alison both befriend an outgoing gay stylist named Christian who becomes the social epicentre of the salon. When Christian is brutally murdered by Nazi skinheads, his death tears through the salon like a pipe bomb. Alison's grief leads to an obsession with the Holocaust, setting her on a journey to Auschwitz. Malcolm also becomes unwittingly transformed by the event and accompanies Alison to Poland to work out his own demons. A History of Forgetting asks many questions about racism and the illusion of security, and challenges the slacker entropy of Generations X and Y. Adderson, a Governor General's Award nominee for her short-story collection Bad Imaginings, treats her subject with dignity, free of sensationalism. --Moe Berg
'The themes have been well thought out and the connections between history and forgetting resonate... a thought-provoking novel' 4/11 Independent on Sunday -- Independent on Sunday 20011104 the Times 'witty and touching' 20/10 -- The Times 20011020 Praise for A HISTORY OF FORGETTING and Caroline Adderson: 20011020 '[A] dark and witty exploration of love and loss' Independent on Sunday 20011020 'Breathtaking...brilliant' Literary Review 20011020 'A moving, marvellous book' Eve 20011020 'Intelligent and assured' Independent 20011020 '[A] funny, sensitive, polished novel' Jewish Chronicle 20011020 '[An] arresting first novel...Adderson writes with rare understanding' The Times 20011020 "Astonishingly good...raw, beautifully written, this is...an author whose talent will only increase with time' Canada Post 20011020 'Malcolm, a...hairdersser, cares for his longtime French lover, Denis. Now in the final stags of Alzheimer's, Denis has inexplicably become hateful towards all Jews. At the salon, Malcolm meets the young, naive Alison. After a major gaffe when she notices the tatttooed number on an older client's arm - 'There's ink or something on your arm, Mrs Solof' - and when another gay salon worker is beatern to a pulp by a a group of queer-bashing Nazis, Alison wakes up to a world that is still full of crimes against gays and Jews...a useful and highly contemporary look at the dangers of intolerance' Guardian 20011020 'Startlingly honest' She 20011020 'There's something exhilarating about witnessing a major literary talent leaving the starting block...I cannot recommend this debut novel too highly. Funny, difficult, and wise, it is unforgettable.' John Burns 20011020 'STUNNING...without doubt a writer to keep an eye on' MONTREAL GAZETTE 'ASTONISHING...There really isn't another word to describe Caroline Adderson's first book' GEORGIA STRAIGHT 'ONE OF THE BEST...SHEER POETRY...a singular book, deep and mature' GLOBE AND MAIL 'BRISTLING, SPARKLING' OTTAWA CITIZEN 'EXTRAORDINARY...strong and fascinating' CALGARY HERALD 'Wit, flair for language, and WICKEDLY UNINHIBITED perception' TORONTO STAR 'EXCELLENT...impossible to pick a favourite' QUILL AND QUIRE 20011020 '[A] dark and witty exploration of love and loss' Independent on Sunday '[An] arresting first novel...Adderson writes with a rare understanding of human frailty' The Times 'A moving, marvellous book' Eve 'Intelligent and assured' Independent '[A] funny, sensitive, polished novel' Jewish Chronicle 'A beautiful novel...a dramatic read...what makes this book a gem is the lyrical prose of the author... this book draws the reader in from the first page... this a gentle story which gradually turns into a novel of great depth, leaving the reader to mull over the issues it raises long after the cover has been closed for the last time' Daily Express "Astonishingly good...raw, beautifully written, this is...an author whose talent will only increase with time' Canada Post 'Breathtaking...brilliant' Literary Review 'Caroline Adderson is considered one of the four most promising new writers in Canada today, and there's no question as to why. Her debut novel, A History of Forgetting is an incredible book, shattering in its scope, virtuosity of language and sheer storytelling wonder. Don't miss it ... ' Sydney Morning Herald
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