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Extended Audio Sample The Story of Forgetting: A Novel Audiobook, by Stefan Merrill Block Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,282 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stefan Merrill Block, Patrick Lawlor Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781400177172
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In Stefan Merrill Block’s extraordinary debut, three narratives intertwine to create a story that is by turns funny, smart, introspective, and revelatory. 

Abel Haggard is an elderly hunchback who haunts the remnants of his family’s farm in the encroaching shadow of the Dallas suburbs, adrift in recollections of those he loved and lost long ago. As a young man, he believed himself to be “the one person too many”; now he is all that remains. 

Hundreds of miles to the south, in Austin, Seth Waller is a teenage “master of nothingness”—a prime specimen of that gangly, pimple-rashed, too-smart breed of adolescent that vanishes in a puff of sarcasm at the slightest threat of human contact. When his mother is diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s, Seth sets out on a quest to find her lost relatives and to conduct an “empirical investigation” that will uncover the truth of her genetic history. 

Though neither knows of the other’s existence, Abel and Seth are linked by a dual legacy: the disease that destroys the memories of those they love, and the story of Isidora—an edenic fantasy world free from the sorrows of remembrance, a land without memory where nothing is ever possessed, so nothing can be lost. 

Through the fusion of myth, science, and storytelling, this novel offers a dazzling illumination of the hard-learned truth that only through the loss of what we consider precious can we understand the value of what remains.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Block displays an innate gift for developing believable characters each with his own distinct voice. The result is a story that’s compulsive and transporting.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Henn | 2/19/2014

    " 5/10 A talented young author's first book. The story is told flipping back and forth through the eyes of two characters. One character is an old man who has experienced a great deal of loss in his life including the loss of his brother and mother to early onset familial Alzheimer's. The other character is a precocious teenage boy whose mom is dying from the same disease. The boy sets out to discover the mysteries of his mom's past by pretending to compile information about the disease for a leading researcher. The book is well written, however, I question if the characters, as they are presented, would have the high level thoughts and vocabulary the author attributes to them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Onix | 2/18/2014

    " A little "too real" for my liking "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 2/9/2014

    " I enjoyed the scientific aspects "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 2/2/2014

    " The author completed a lot of research on the topic. Though fiction, it read like a true story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 1/26/2014

    " One of the best books I've read this year. I think I may have cried my way through the entire book - but it was unbelievably beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 1/25/2014

    " Well-crafted first novel about family heritage. Traces early-onset Alzheimer's through generations with a surprising conclusion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gotham Gal | 1/21/2014

    " Three stories that are woven together until the final chapter. Dealing with Alzheimers at a very early age and the nasty gene that continues generation after generation. Really good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 1/19/2014

    " This is an EXCELLENT book. Written so well, I can hardly believe it's from a first-time author who is so young. The voices were authentic and you could see the settings, they were so well described. I flew through this book, just because it was so good I didn't want to stop. After you read it, check out the author's website for insight into why he wrote it, and how. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea Reads | 1/15/2014

    " I really liked the way this was written. It was a good book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 1/6/2014

    " I REALLY liked this book at the beginning but was a little disappointed with the lack of wrapping it up at the end. It's worth the read but stared off much stronger than it ended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 11/20/2013

    " I was surprised to enjoy this book so much... I was completely involved in the lives of Seth and Abel - a very touching story. Although the plot seemed slow at times, it was well written and planned, and the story's meaning can't be missed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 9/3/2013

    " Extraordinary! Beautifully crafted with depth and complexity. This story is one I certainly will not forget. It's especially endearing because my mother has signs of memory loss (we hesitate to say the A word, but it's a possibility.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 8/24/2013

    " Beautiful book. It finds a way to make a beautiful story about a painful decision, without eliminating any of the pain. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheryl Vanatti | 7/21/2013

    " Review first published on Many A Quaint & Curious Volume "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne-Louise Savage | 6/18/2012

    " Made me think about how we measure human worth. A thought provoking book about the early onset of alzheimers and the effects on family relationships "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brittany Owens | 3/31/2012

    " There was too much crap in for me too look past. The story was informative about alzheimer's but the story wasn't so riveting that I could look past all of the sexual crap that was in the book. I am sorry if there are those who enjoyed it, I just couldn't finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brendan Hayes | 12/1/2011

    " A wonderfully written novel...A definite page turner about the very sad, but serious subject of alzheimer's disease. I only started reading this last night, but I trust that you won't regret picking up a copy.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 11/27/2011

    " This is one of the most inventive, tightly woven books I've read all year. What impresses me most is Block's ability to have his primary narratives sound so different. Well done and let's have another from Mr. Block soon! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christy Sibila | 10/9/2011

    " A touching novel about a teenage boy's struggle to come to terms with his mother's diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's. Fascinating medical history peppers a story that spans several generations. It is a quite impressive debut. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tess Kauffmann | 8/2/2011

    " Really Good Book, But can be a bit confusing... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlene | 6/23/2011

    " this story is about Alzetmer's, three stories that are woven togeather. I found it to be depressing at times but still a good read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brittany | 4/17/2011

    " There was too much crap in for me too look past. The story was informative about alzheimer's but the story wasn't so riveting that I could look past all of the sexual crap that was in the book. I am sorry if there are those who enjoyed it, I just couldn't finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Helena | 4/8/2011

    " En lidt speciel bog. Der foregår to historier i bogen, og i begge historier indgår der en person med tidlig familiær alzheimers. Jeg synes hurtigt, at jeg kunne forudse historiens gang, og den kedede mig faktisk lidt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 2/1/2011

    " Once I found myself lost inside this story, I envisioned that I would write an eloquent review that perfectly summarized the story all the while inspiring others to read it. Instead I can only say: This novel is amazing. I absolutely loved it and will absolutely recommend it to everyone I know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 1/29/2011

    " I really liked the way this was written. It was a good book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Susan | 1/28/2011

    " A woman suffers from Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease, and her devastated teenaged son tries to trace her lineage by talking to other Alzheimer's Patients (?) Other things happen, but they're pretty forgettable, pun intended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/19/2011

    " Reminded me a bit of Nicole Krauss, what with the interweaving storylines and quirky characters. I was pleasantly surprised by his writing style, and I'm looking forward to reading more of his work! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arianne | 10/6/2010

    " just a nice story about a tough disease. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlene | 9/12/2010

    " this story is about Alzetmer's, three stories that are woven togeather. I found it to be depressing at times but still a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 8/14/2010

    " This was a wonderful book tying together three stories of a 15 year old boy who has a mother with early onset alzheimers, an elderly hunchback and the land of forgetting. It is beautifully rendered and was very hard to put down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 5/21/2010

    " Extraordinary! Beautifully crafted with depth and complexity. This story is one I certainly will not forget. It's especially endearing because my mother has signs of memory loss (we hesitate to say the A word, but it's a possibility.) "

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About the Author
Author Stefan Merrill Block

Stefan Merrill Block was born in 1982 and grew up in Plano, Texas. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2004. The Story of Forgetting is his first novel. Stefan lives in Brooklyn, New York.

About the Narrator

Patrick Lawlor, an award-winning narrator, is also an accomplished stage actor, director, and combat choreographer. He has worked extensively off Broadway and has been an actor and stuntman in both film and television. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many Library Journal and Kirkus starred audio reviews.