- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (June 9, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780299283407
- ISBN-13: 978-0299283407
- ASIN: 0299283402
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Remembrance of Things I Forgot: A Novel Hardcover – June 9, 2011
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“If H. G. Wells had been funny and Oscar Wilde obsessed with time travel they might have mated and produced Bob Smith, who has written the funniest and wildest ride imaginable through the recent past and near future.”—Edmund White
“His characters are brilliantly drawn, the dialogue is Preston Sturges deft, the political satire is damning without being shrill, and you will absolutely cry when you read the last line. How did Smith do that? I didn’t think it was possible to be a bigger fan of Bob Smith’s than I already was, but I am.”—David Rakoff, author of Fraud
“An extraordinary novel: smart, funny, fiendishly inventive, often moving and ultimately profound. I've never read anything like it. Bob Smith combines the ingenuity of science fiction with the emotional weight of autobiographical fiction. He then adds politics—in the form of the greatest villain of recent American history. This is a comic novel, but reading it can be a life-altering experience, like falling through a rabbit hole in space/time, and coming out the other side a better person.” —Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters
"Wildly comic political satire mixes with cutting comedy, social commentary, and a touch of sf in this seriously entertaining summer read."—Booklist
“Bob Smith’s Remembrance of Things I Forgot is a delightful, moving portrait of a man who is given the rare opportunity to literally revisit his past, and the novel will likely be considered one of the year’s best.”— Christopher Verleger, Lambda Literary
“A beautifully written and well-paced comic sci-fi extravaganza, a true page turner yet pregnant with deep social and human insight. . . . Take this book to heart: it will absorb you, change you, and—in the clincher of the last sentence—move you to tears.”—Richard Canning, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide
“It is abundantly clear that Smith mixed the funny with the sad in Remembrances of Things I Forgot, and he has literally turned that ‘genre of life’ into a tangible reflection of the time it takes for humans to forget their life experiences, big and small, sweet and sorrowful; and in the end how remembrance of all things could actually change the world.”—Tony Hobday, QSaltLake
“Bob Smith aims high and succeeds.”—Band of Thebes
“It’s safe to say your relationship is in trouble if the only way you can imagine solving your problems is by borrowing a time machine.”
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Another fascinating thing is that I've met Bob's mother, who lived just two blocks away from me in Kenmore when I lived there in the 1990s. So when Bob describes the Albright-Knox, and many other sights, sounds and tastes of Buffalo, I was glued to the page, since I know them intimately, too! It really is exciting when you know the place the writer is describing!
But even if I didn't live in Buffalo, I would have found this book one of the overall best gay novels I've ever come across, and I've read more than a few! I would say this books is a masterpiece!
Remembrance of Things I Forgot: A Novel combines sci-fi, gay romance, politics, and family dysfunction with comedic timing honed on the stage, and now brilliantly carried over into the written word. The book is perfectly paced, the characters are three dimensional and vibrant, the story is thoughtful, fast, surprising, and just downright funny as hell. Additionally, it's very clear that Smith has done his political research. In lesser skilled hands, this could have denigrated into a liberal tirade. Smith handles this by making John, the protagonist, so real that his anger toward the Republican party is a natural extension of who he is. Had John not expressed such strong and heartfelt feelings, both political and personal, his character would have rung false. Instead, Smith gives us living, breathing characters that continue to live on long after the final page. Remembrance of Things I Forgot: A Novel is a comedic work of art that will stay on your Favorites List and be enjoyed over and over again.
Stop reading this review and buy the book already! Go!
P.S. Since this review is so jump up and down enthusiastic, let me assure you that I don't know the author, have never met him, and he's never even sent me a Christmas card which, you know, would have been nice...
It's 2006, and comic book dealer John Sherkston has decided to break up with his long-time boyfriend, Taylor. Unfortunately, he chooses to do so on the same day Taylor announces he has finally perfected his design of a time machine he has been building for the US government.
As the result of an encounter with Vice President Cheney, John gets sent back to 1986, where he meets "Junior," his younger self. After an uncomfortable round of flirting, John reveals his identity to Junior, and the two meet up with a younger Taylor to try and right some wrongs--in John's family, in his relationship with Taylor and in the world, as they try to stop George W. Bush from gaining the motivation to run for president. Their journey takes them across the country, and as John reveals what the future holds for Junior and Taylor (both separately and together), he realizes that some things are better to prepare for and some things are better off running their own course. Oh, and they also have to battle two Dick Cheneys at one point. Don't ask.
This book was a terrifically fun (and funny), poignant adventure. Imagine having the power to go back into your past and change an event or two that affected you tremendously. When the book focused on John and Junior's meetings with family, or analyzing where John's relationship with Taylor went wrong, I felt it was at its best, but I felt the entire George W. Bush piece felt a little unfunny. While I understand having a dislike for the Bush/Cheney administration, I felt as if Smith made John's character a little too shrill in those instances. All in all, however, this book touched my heart, made me think and made me laugh. And it's not every book that can do any of those things well, much less all three.