Everything I Don't Remember

Everything I Don't Remember

A Novel

Book - 2016
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A 2016 Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, as Chosen by Joyce Carol Oates

One of Sweden's most celebrated young writers and activists spins an exhilarating, innovative, and gripping murder mystery reminiscent of the hit podcast Serial .

A young man named Samuel dies in a horrible car crash. Was it an accident or was it suicide? To answer that question, an unnamed writer with an agenda of his own sets out to map Samuel's last day alive. Through conversations with friends, relatives, and neighbors, a portrait of Samuel emerges: the loving grandchild, the reluctant bureaucrat, the loyal friend, the contrived poseur. The young man who did everything for his girlfriend Laide and shared everything with his best friend Vandad. Until he lost touch with them both.

By piecing together an exhilarating narrative puzzle, we follow Samuel from the first day he encounters the towering Vandad to when they become roommates. We meet Panther, Samuel's self-involved childhood friend whose move to Berlin indirectly cues the beginning of Samuel's search for the meaning of love--which in turn leads Samuel to Laide. Soon, Samuel's relationship with Laide leads to a chasm in his friendship with Vandad, and it isn't long before the lines between loyalty and betrayal, protection, and peril get blurred irrevocably.

Everything I Don't Remember is a gripping tale about love and memory. But it is also a story about a writer who, by filling out the contours of Samuel's story, is actually trying to grasp a truth about himself. In the end, what remains of all our fleeting memories? And what is hidden behind everything we don't remember? Told with Khemiri's characteristic stylistic ingenuity, this is an emotional roller coaster ride of a book that challenges us to see ourselves--and our relationships to the closest people in our lives--in new and sometimes shocking ways.
Publisher: New York :, Atria Books,, ©2016.
ISBN: 9781501138027
Branch Call Number: FICTION KHE
Characteristics: 259 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Willson-Broyles, Rachel - Translator
Alternative Title: Everything I do not remember


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Sep 09, 2019

After Samuel perishes in a car accident, we hear from his friends and family about their relationships with him and what they remember about the days and months leading up to the death of this rather eccentric young man.

I've spent a fair amount of time in Sweden, so it was interesting to read about the Sweden I'm familiar with as well as the Sweden I'm unfamiliar with, i.e., from the perspective of more recent immigrants. I found the presentation style interesting, and I appreciated the challenge of identifying whose voice I was currently hearing, but it was also somewhat dizzying and easy to become confused. (I'm clearly not the only one: the most highly-rated review on Goodreads is in error about who the interviewer is.) Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about the experience, and I still have a number of unanswered questions.

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