On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.
A New York TimesBook Review Notable Book of 2020 2020 National Jewish Book Awards Finalist
“A brilliant short novel that serves as a brave, sharp-toothed brief against letting the past devour the present” (The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice), Yishai Sarid’s The Memory Monster is a harrowing parable of a young historian who becomes consumed by the memory of the Holocaust.
It is 1975 and an old man, Francis McNulty, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, is beset with sightings in his garden of his old nemesis, General Franco. The general is in fact in Spain, on his deathbed, but Francis is deeply troubled, as is his daughter Gillian, who lives with him in Cleaver Square. Francis’ account of his haunting is by turns witty, cantankerous and nostalgic. At times he drifts back to his days in Madrid, when he rescued a young girl from a burning building and brought her back to London with him. There are other, darker events from that time, involving an American surgeon called Doc Roscoe, and a brief, terrible act of betrayal. When Gillian announces her forthcoming marriage to a senior civil servant, Francis realises he has to adapt to new circumstances and confront his past once and for all.