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An Absent Mind Paperback – February 17, 2015
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"Rill's brilliant novel about Alzheimer's is so well-crafted, the fully-human characters seem real...unvarnished prose reminiscent of Hemingway's straightforward style." —5-Star Clarion/Foreword Review
"This book on dementia is as amazing as it is informative! Best book of 2014." —Alzheimer's Weekly
"An uncommonly brave book...Rill invests every page with true feeling." —Starred BlueInk Review
"Rill skillfully portrays the various stages of the disease...Readers who have a loved one with Alzheimer's might find some comfort in the novel's insights." —Kirkus Review
"The mark of a good novel is one that makes you laugh and cry and An Absent Mind hits the target dead center. Saul takes you into the heart of a person who knows something is going terribly wrong." —L.S. Fisher, Early onset Alzheimer's blog
"This book really shows what someone with Alzheimer's goes through, as well as the experiences of those who care for him." —Pat White, Memories from my life Alzheimer's blog
"Witness Alzheimer's from many perspectives...Rill tells this heart-wrenching story in an uplifting manner that will engage the reader from the beginning to the end of the Reimer family's journey." —EYES IN Books
"It is a powerful story told in a unique way. I recommend this book." —Bob Lowry, author of Satisfying Retirement
"Through the art of fiction, Rill gives a harrowing, hard-hitting look at the true nature of Alzheimer's. It is both shocking and informative." —Stuart Nulman, Montreal Times
"This is a novel, but anyone who has been involved in the care of someone with dementia will know it is not fiction." —Linda Bernstein, nextavenue.org (PBS)
About the Author
Born in Montreal, and later moving to California where he graduated from UCLA with a Masters in Business, Eric Rill went on to run a global hotel group. After discovering his passion for adventure, he left the corporate world, travelling and enjoying the excitement of skydiving, scaling volcanoes, scuba diving--and, to his surprise, stand-up comedy. Somewhere along the way he also discovered the joy of writing fiction.
His first two best sellers were thrillers, PINNACLE OF DECEIT and THE INNOCENT TRAITOR. Then came AN ABSENT MIND, a novel about family and adversity. His latest, THE WINDOW WASHER, inspired by a real life situation, takes the reader into the world of killers, money launderers, moral and immoral cops, and corrupt politicians.
Now living in Panama, Eric is available to connect with your book club through Skype. Just contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (February 17, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 196 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1477828540
- ISBN-13 : 978-1477828540
- Item Weight : 8.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The story is about 71 year old Saul who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease pretty early on in the book. Chapters are alternately narrated by Saul, his wife Monique, his adult children Florence and Joey, and his physician. The family tries to care for him at home longer than is reasonable or safe as he becomes more paranoid and violent. He is eventually put into a home and stays there until his death.
As a book to help families understand Alzheimer’s disease and the myriad of situations and emotions that they will experience, An Absent Mind is a decent effort. If you don’t know anything about Alzheimer’s disease, this is a good primer. The medical explanation is clear and concise. If you are unprepared for the sad, angry, loving, confused, and conflicted feelings, then this book is a good primer. People who are more insightful and emotionally sophisticated may not find it helpful. The chapters are super short, easy to read, and move quickly. This is nice if you don’t have a lot of time or attention to devote to reading. I would give this 3.25 stars from a basic education perspective.
As a novel, this was a disappointment. I am interested in the topic for personal and professional reasons. I was also hooked by the comparison to Lisa Genova. Her books are much more complex. Her characters are more human and sympathetic, while Mr. Rill’s characters were more like obvious stereotypes (favored daughter, absent son, long-suffering wife) I did not care for any of them. Though the ending was not intended to be a surprise, I found the plot to be predictable at every turn. I also thought that the writing style was very basic. It reads as if the author had been given a list of points to include in his book and he accomplished this by simply stringing them together. I think this book shows that almost anyone can write, but not everyone can be a writer. I give this 1.75 stars from a literary perspective.
In many ways, reading this unexpected treasure of a book brought me a great deal of closure. It was like having a final conversation that was never able to happen in real life.
"An Absent Mind" stands on its own merit. It is an excellent book that allows the reader to explore the shifting landscape of dementia without having to draw on personal experience in order to fully appreciate the storyline. However, if Alzheimer's or any condition resulting in dementia has hit your family like a mushroom cloud, you will see yourself and others in these pages. If so, I hope it brings you a bit of the same absolution I found in it.
Top reviews from other countries
This story is an encouragement to most older readers to hurry up and make a living will as soon as they start forgetting things, to ensure they are not allowed the degradation of themselves or their families which this disease will eventually bring. A one-way ticket to Switzerland is a much happier option!
The story is a gripping account of the progress and deterioration of a human mind through Alzheimer's. It is told in alternating voices from the man himself, his wife,his two children and his doctor. The story explores, very sensitively, how each individual is affected. I have known people who have dealt with Alzheimer's and, closer to home, I watched something that was similar to Alzheimer's run its course - so much of the book rang true - as it should, because the author had direct experience of this condition with his father. I did not find the book to be, in any way, cold and I was in tears at the end. It moved me enough to write this review and I will be telling my friends about this book. Thank you, Eric Rill, for writing it.
Eric Rill's writing is simple and snappy. Although I didn't fully engage with the characters, I found it an interesting read and short enough to complete in a couple of sittings.