What if you could remember every last detail of your life?
Eve knows what her colleagues had for lunch last April. She remembers everyone who has stayed at the care home where she works, long after they’ve gone. Her life is small and meticulously managed.
And what if you couldn’t even remember your name?
‘Adam’ is found wandering down the central reservation of the M25. He has no memory of how he came to be there and no clue who he is.
As Eve works with Adam to help him discover who he once was, her world begins to open up – beyond the care home, beyond her memories.
But as Adam finally begins to remember his past, will there be room for Eve?
Thank you to Frankie at Sphere Books for sending me this finished copy of The Man I Can’t Forget, very much appreciated.
Eva has a condition called Hyperthymestic Syndrome, triggered by a trauma during her childhood. She feels very different and as such leads a ‘small’ life, living and working in a care home where she helps older residents with ailing memory to remember. Adam is bought in by the police, with no memory of who he is, he needs somewhere to be, hence the care home.
Adam is in his 40s and handsome and Eva is instantly attracted to him, they spend increasing amounts of time together, both feeling a connection and struggling to keep their relationship professional. Until, that is Adam remembers…
Told in the first person narrative of Eva and in broadly alternating chapters the third person voice of Rachel, who is ‘Adam’s’ wife. The story begins with Adam arriving at the care home, while Rachel is wondering where he is – some difficulties are alluded to and for this reason she had not reported him missing.
This was an interesting and pleasant read, tackling issues of memory, particularly memory loss in older age associated with dementia. It was interesting hearing Eva’s perspective and her strategy of limiting her life to enable her to manage her own memories, with her fear of difficult and sad memories overwhelming her. I was a little suspicious of Adam to be honest and while there was nothing to support this, I wonder if perhaps I didn’t find his character wholly authentic. That said I found the fugue state and memory interesting – you will need to read the book to learn more about this as I don’t want to spoil anything.
I did have some issues with the relationship between Eva and Adam in terms of the fact that she was in a paid capacity to care for him and again there were aspects of this that for me did not ring true. If this doesn’t bother you then this is a light read about the impact of memory loss on a man and his family and it is an enjoyable and readable story.
About the Author
Eva Woods grew up in a small Irish village and now lives in London, where she dodges urban foxes and tuts at tourists on escalators. She ran the UK’s first writing course for commercial novels and regularly teaches creative writing.