I totally admit that I picked this book because the back cover mentioned a hunchback. Luckily, it turned out to be quite a good read (I’ve been on a good streak lately!)
The Story of Forgetting weaves three narratives together. First is that of Abel Haggard, a hermetic hunchback living out his last days alone (well, with his house), on a shitty little farm in the the middle of a subdivision somewhere outside Dallas. Abel reminisces a lot about his life, specifically about his brother and his brother’s wife, who are no longer with him. His brother, like most of their family, was cursed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in his thirties.
Seth is an unhappy teenager in Austin whose mother is afflicted with what turns out to be the same rare form of Alzheimer’s. It affects a very small portion of the population, all of whom descended from a duke about twelve or thirteen generations back. Seth is determined to research the disease, and through his research, find out more about his mother’s family.
In addition to the disease, Abel and Seth share a common family fairy tale (which comprises the third narrative): a story about a place of forgetting, known as Isidora.
I was surprised at how well the three stories were woven together, in addition to several chunks of information about the genetic history of the disease. It is in many ways a sad book, full of people’s mistakes and regrets along with the cruelties of life and disease. But it was well-written and full of interesting, sympathetic characters.