The Wilderness

The Wilderness

A Novel

Book - 2009
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Jake Jameson is a sixty-five-year-old architect who is on the cusp of retirement. One evening he's sitting alone in the office, staring down at an architectural drawing. He can't quite figure out what he's supposed to do with it. Suddenly he remembers a word, one for which he has been searching for days to recall: entropy--for him the singular most interesting theory that exists, a theory that says everything loses, rather than gains, order. This idea underlies this riveting tale of a man whose memories are slowly eroding. As Alzheimer's begins to wear away his sense of identity, Jake builds stories around his life that inform his feelings of blame and responsibility--only to have the stories disintegrate faster than he can capture them. As the plot keeps shifting and the facts unravel, little mysteries start to form: for example, what was the problem with the missing letter e? What was behind the mythologies that his Jewish mother told him as a child? Where is his daughter, Alice? What happened to her? Eventually we realize that even Jake's clearest memories may not be true. He is the flawed witness to his own past, the ultimate unreliable narrator. Yet in the end we are left with a clear and moving portrait not only of a sympathetic man but also of a heartrending disease as seen from the inside out. Arrestingly understated and wise, THE WILDERNESS is a memorable first novel from an extraordinarily gifted new writer.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385527637
Branch Call Number: FIC HAR
Characteristics: 371 p. ; 22 cm


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Jun 12, 2017

A purposefully maddening narrative, with the story told from the perspective of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The protagonist often struggles to locate his words even early on; the sentence, "Entropy - this is the word his brain has been trying to hunt down for days" is alone worth the price of reading. The connections to reality are thus never quite certain for us, and less so as the decline continues. Nevertheless, the architect narrator's life gradually unfolds for us through flashbacks, stories, and memories divorced from linear time, untrustworthy in themselves, but rendered in touching and often shattering prose.

Aug 05, 2013

Although compelling in story I did find myself wish the story would move faster. However this could have been a choice by the author to demenstrate better how the character was progressing with the disease....The book did bring me to tears a few times so it is rich in emotion to say the least.

Apr 30, 2013

The narrator of this story, who has Alzheimer's disease, struggles to remember. As the book progresses, so does the disease and his memories become increasingly fragmented and unreliable. The book is very well written and compelling.

Dec 13, 2009

This was one of the most compelling stories I have ever read. It s the story of an English architect whose passion was to build a glass house in the English countryside. The story takes place when he is elderly and is succumbiing to Alzheimers. It explores memory, reality, truth, our values contrasted against how we actually live our life. A powerful story that gives plenty of food for thought.

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