The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey


Audiobook.  Another Reading Matters recommendation.  A wonderfully told story of the life of a man looking back on his life as his memory is overcome by Alzheimer's disease.  The loss of occasional words, then reliable memories, eventually his ability to recognize his closest friends and family is a significant part of this story.  More important is that we learn about this complex man, his unconventional family and friends by stories that are sometimes repetitive, sometimes contradictory, and always a bit incomplete.  

He is an architect who studied and began his work in London, and bullied his wife to move to the moors where he grew up, the wilderness of the title.  His mother and her lover were still there and were an important part of their lives.  We hear and rehear stories of his mother; he says the stories she told him as a child mystified him and it was as if she showed him grains of sand but never the beach.  That was certainly how I felt about his stories, but by the end of the book I felt I was getting close to the beach and it was a touching if sad journey.

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