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Memory Wall: Stories (2010)

by Anthony Doerr

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4331745,013 (4.1)33
Set on four continents, stories about memory.

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Doerr is a brilliant writer, but I'm not passionate about the stories in this book. For some reason they didn't fascinate me. The first one was incredible--so thought-out, immersing and shocking and beautifully-rendered. It was the only one in which the "memory" theme didn't seem somewhat artificial. The second story, with Herb and Imogene, I also liked. The rest, though the writing was extraordinary, just didn't click with me.

I'm giving four stars for the writing, but the fifth one stays with me. ( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
I liked this, but it was a little sluggish at times. All the stories are solid work, just not as gripping or affecting on the whole as All the Light We Cannot See. I really liked the river story a lot. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Memory Wall - Doerr
audio performance by multiple narrators
5 stars

Anthony Doerr published four books before the phenomenally successful All the Light We Cannot See; one novel, one memoir, and two collections of short stories. Memory Wall is the collection that was published in 2010.

There are six stories in this book. Not one of the six is even mildly disappointing. The stories differ in characters and setting. Memory Wall, the title story, is a about an elderly, white, dementia patient and takes place in South Africa. It is speculative,science fiction that proposes a chilling ‘what if’ scenario in memory reclamation. Procreate, Generate and The Demilitarized Zone are contemporary fiction set in middle America. Village 113 chronicles China’s Three Gorges Dam construction through the eyes of a village ‘seed keeper’. The River Nemunas sends an orphaned American teenager to live with her Lithuanian grandfather. In the last story, Afterworld, an elderly Holocaust survivor spends her last days with her grandson while having seizure induced visitations with her lost childhood friends.

Each of these stories explores an aspect of memory, but they are not linked to each other in any other way. Each setting is distinct, with great attention paid to the flora and fauna of the natural world. Doerr’s prose is lyrical and haunting. The characters are real enough to walk off the pages.

The audio production used different performers for each story. Lisette Lecat was perfect for the South African Story. All of the stories were well read. Although, despite the Chinese surname, Louis Changchien read as if Three Gorges Dam was located in the middle of Kansas. ( )
  msjudy | Jun 15, 2020 |
Bleh. Abandoned and not worth reading. Should have skimmed it more before bringing it home. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
I was impressed at first by the originality of imagination of the author but as I read more of his stories his style became more and more annoying. Short sentences, packed with detailed observations that real persons would never experience in that way. This creates a distance and makes it difficult to identify with the main character. It is all too artificial. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
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You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.

-- Luis Buñuel, My Last Sigh
For Shauna
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Seventy-four-year-old Alma Konachek lives in Vredehoek, a suburb above Cape Town: a place of warm rains, big-windowed lofts, and silent, predatory automobiles.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Set on four continents, stories about memory.

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  • Memory Wall
  • Procreate, Generate
  • The Demilitarized Zone
  • Village
  • The River Nemunas
  • Afterworld
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