The Long Forgotten

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Enjoyable read- it is split into 3 stories which are married together beautifully. Great narration and great read. 
Thank you to both NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me the opportunity to read this great book in exchange for my honest unbiased review
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An original, clever, read which expertly links 3 stories. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought the characters were great.
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Such an interesting and enjoyable read.. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the book really grew on me. It had well-written and intriguing characters and a clever plot. 
I particularly liked the idea of traveling the world seeking rare and beautiful flowers listed in a letter found in a library book. This, along with a lost plane and a black box eaten by a whale and a ‘foundling’ despairate to find his identity, was the making of a clever and memorable book.
Thank you to Picador, the author and #NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read #TheLongForgotten
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Having just had a close relative pass away from Alzheimer's I wasn't sure a book based around the infallibility vs fallibility of human memory was going to be particularly good for me, however, avoiding these type of subjects is also a mistake, as you simply can't do that forever. Luckily, although this story brought back many special memories for me I also very much enjoyed the escapism I got from reading it, and it felt like a very unique way to address issues of love, family relationships, memory, where you come from and the search to find a place where you feel you belong, all wrapped up in a compelling, multi-threaded tale. But it is also so much more than that.

It is a piece that is stunningly written with characters that come alive on the page as they relay their individual stories to us. The denouement is expertly delivered and the reader sees the different strands of the plot tied expertly together. We are all connected to one another as humans and this book perfectly illustrates that fact. The lyricism of the narrative is not to be underestimated as it has an inherent beauty about it which moved me many times. If you appreciate evocative, thought-provoking narratives and the likes of John Boyne you will find much to love in The Long Forgotten.

Many thanks to Picador for an ARC.
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‘He told him the story from the beginning, hoping for nothing more than to make it to the end. And as the words left his mouth, it was as though they were being deleted from his memory.’

A man is trapped in a submersible on the seabed off the coast of Australia when a whale gets tangled in the cables and brings it to the surface. When the whale dies it is cut open and in its stomach is found the black box flight recorder of a plane that crashed 30 years ago. Meanwhile, in London a man called Dove walks to his work as an ambulance call centre operator and suffers headaches, his head filled with memories that are not his but are so vivid they must be real. And in 1983 Brooklyn a man runs his own cleaning company and becomes obsessed with flowers, finding in a library book a lost love letter from an unknown man to his lover, with a list of six flowers.

What links these stories makes for a beautifully written, moving meditation on the nature of memory, of family, and of finding where you come from. As the book develops it becomes clear that the memories that Dove is experiencing belong to Peter Manyweathers, the American cleaner. As Peter travels the world to find the exotic and rare flowers, he meets a fellow flower-enthusiast called Hans, and the beautiful Harum, an expert from Sumatra. Meanwhile Dove overhears an emergency call about an elderly man in a retirement home who does nothing but sit and stare at flowers. Can his memories somehow be connected? And how are they linked to the story of Jeremiah Cole, the professor who had been trapped in the submersible, and who is now caught up in the media storm surrounding the finding of the black box.

I won’t go into any spoilers here. Suffice to say that the stories merge and somehow it all makes sense. Whitehouse writes with a great eye for detail, and with a beautiful poetic lyricism, that it is hard to resist the wonder and ‘otherness’ of the story. There are things that we just can’t understand, things beyond our human knowledge that just ‘are’. This is a tender, moving examination of love and the power of memory, and I absolutely recommend it. It doesn’t quite get 5 stars, unfortunately: the plot involving Hans Berg develops towards an unnecessary, slightly unbelievable conclusion, and I didn’t quite fully believe the details of the plane crash when it comes towards the end of the book. Otherwise, this is definitely a book to recommend, and this is an author I will seek out again.
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The immortality of memories defies all rationale in this bountifully enchanting time capsule of a book.

From the discovery of the missing black box recorder belonging to "The Long Forgotten" flight PS570, to a whole world of possibilities nestled inside the pages of a deserted library book, the more I read the more I NEEDED to read. 

Three distinct trails of happenstance are signposted throughout and are guided by a map of displaced memories. They travel full circle before resting at journey’s end, where the only destinations that matter are the ones that touch our heart in many exceptional and unexpected ways. 

Engaging in the pursuit of the mini inventory of rare flora became a calming indulgence. The trial of steadfastly locating each one, glimpsing the fleeting burst of life and its survival against all odds, lead to encounters far more precious than the ‘Udumbara’  miraculously flourishing under a washing machine in China.

Heavenly narration drifting on tides of serendipity, "The Long Forgotten" is a curious voyage of a read that I will remember for some time.
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