Richard and Judy Review: The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

Richard and Judy Review: The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

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"Sharon Guskin has come up with one of the most original and page-turning pieces of debut fiction that either of us can remember reading."

Richard’s review

Noah has early-onset schizophrenia. That’s the tentative diagnosis of psychiatrists. But at four years old? Really?

Janie refuses to accept it, and goes online to find another explanation.

She finds it – perhaps – in the form of Dr Jerome Anderson. He is the central figure in a documentary featuring children who seem to recall astonishing details of past lives. But proof is elusive and Anderson is desperate to find acceptance amongst his peers. Because time is running out. The doctor has a form of early-onset dementia and an ever-shrinking window of opportunity to prove his theories before he loses his mind and his memory.

So when Janie turns to him for help, he grabs this last opportunity with both hands. Through Noah’s extraordinary testimony, Anderson may be able to clinch his reputation as a breakthrough scientist – but he must be very, very quick.

Perhaps the truth lies in Janie’s back story. She fell pregnant with Noah at thirty-nine after stranger-sex in Trinidad. Who might the father have been? What could he have passed on into his son’s DNA that may now be dominating the child’s personality and memory?

The Forgetting Time is a scintillating tale of the paranormal, reincarnation, and the powerful bond between mother and child. It is also a compelling murder mystery which holds a twist within a twist.

Sharon Guskin has come up with one of the most original and page-turning pieces of debut fiction that either of us can remember reading.

"So, Sharon Guskin asks us to accept the possibility – only the possibility, mind – that some of us have led previous lives. Not only that, but that we can somehow remember them. "

Judy’s review

This is one of those novels that requires you to suspend your disbelief; rather like one of our previous book club choices (The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffernegger) which asked readers to accept the possibility of ‘chromosomal time travel’. If they couldn’t manage that, the wonderful story that followed was meaningless.

There’s nothing unusual about this bargain between writer and reader. Dickens applied it, frequently. Remember the opening lines of A Christmas Carol?

‘Marley was dead, to begin with ….. this must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.’

So, Sharon Guskin asks us to accept the possibility – only the possibility, mind – that some of us have led previous lives. Not only that, but that we can somehow remember them. Our experience in former existences bleeds into the present. We are multiple personalities; living souls inhabited by ghosts of the past. Confused. Conflicted. And very, very frightened.

Four year old Noah has nightmares and is terrified by water. He refuses to take a bath. He has strange ‘memories’ which make no sense to his increasingly baffled and desperate mother, Janie. In fact, Noah often rejects her as his mother, repeatedly asking her if he can ‘go home now’. He also demands to be returned to his ‘real mother’.

Noah has been expelled from pre-school because of his insistence on talking about guns, and drowning, and the ‘scary’ bits in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter stories.

Just what is wrong with Noah?

Press reviews

Here are a selection of the reviews for The Forgetting Time

"Gripping, deft, and moving."

The New York Times

"For fans of Cloud Atlas and The Lovely Bones, this psychological mystery will have you hooked until the case is closed—or is it?Superb"

Cosmo

"If you took to Lovely Bones, you’ll be completely engrossed by Guskin’s mystery, which meticulously weaves together a web of sympathetic, multi-dimensional characters through alternating chapters…Plenty of fodder for your next book club."

InStyle