Mister Memory

Mister Memory

Book - 2016
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In Paris in the year 1899, Marcel Despres is arrested for the murder of his wife and transferred to the famous Salpetriere asylum. And there the story might have stopped. But the doctor assigned to his care soon realises this is no ordinary patient: Marcel Despres, Mister Memory, is a man who cannot forget. And the policeman assigned to his case soon realises that something else is at stake: for why else would the criminal have been hurried off to hospital, and why are his superiors so keen for the whole affair to be closed? This crime involves something bigger and stranger than a lovers' fight - something with links to the highest and lowest establishments in France. The policeman and the doctor between them must unravel the mystery...but the answers lie inside Marcel's head. And how can he tell what is significant when he remembers every detail of every moment of his entire life? For fans of Scarlett Thomas, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Patrick Suskind, this is a captivating literary mystery about memory, history and fate.
Publisher: London, Mulholland Books,, 2016.
ISBN: 9781444751994
Characteristics: 327 pages ; 24 cm.
Alternative Title: Mr Memory


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Aug 09, 2018

This crime novel, set in 1899 Paris, has a cast of disposable characters and an intriguing layered plot that is almost secondary to its focus on the character of Marcel Despres. Sedgwick has clearly read A.R. Luria's fascinating study on the prodigious eidetic memory of Russian patient Solomon Shereshevsky ("The Mind of the Mnemonist", 1968). If it weren't for the omniscient 3rd person narration, which I didn't care for, I'd compare this novel to Stieg Larsson's more modern Millenium trilogy.

JessicaGma Jun 19, 2018

It is a slow burn of a story as events are gone over again and again, but in this story, that aspect is important as things are not what they seem. Marcel Despres has perfect recollection so knows he killed his wife but the evidence is a little off. Dr Morel and Inspector Petit discover more is at stake, and then the story really takes off.

forbesrachel Apr 28, 2017

On its surface, Mister Memory is about a man with the extraordinary ability to remember everything, who murders his wife. At it's heart though, the book is about memory itself; how it defines us, effects us, how it can be deceived, and even how it can be augmented by tools. As the reader, we get to explore many fascinating facets of the topic through the characters and objects that inhabit Sedwick's vision of 19th century Paris, such as: Dr Morel who explores "memory" with a scientific mind, and ultimately finds the deeper purpose which he forgot; there is the central importance of photographs, archives, and newspapers (devices for recording memory); there is Inspector Petit, a man mired in the question of what happened to his wife; and finally there is Marcel himself, someone who can barely function because he drowns in his limitless mind. Even with a mystery to pique our interest, Mister Memory doesn't immediately hook you; like Sedgwick's other works, this is more for readers drawn to language than narrative. Events do eventually take off, but before that, key aspects about the characters and events have to be established. Perspectives switch in order to explain the reasoning behind each person's actions, as well as to explore another part of the central theme. Even though the topic could have made this a heady read, Sedgwick avoids this by making his characters, and the setting, equally enjoyable. He presents a snapshot to our minds of a world where seedy cabarets, corrupted politicians, and marvellous mysteries exist...and it is fantastic. One more thing, this is one of the coolest covers ever!

Mar 29, 2017

Fantastic book with memorable characters set against the backdrop of 1890s Paris (think Moulin Rouge).

Kaycross Feb 19, 2017

A fascinating book with an unusual subject and interesting characters. Set in Paris in the latter half of the 19th century it covers crime, detection, psychology and theatre of that period, weaving the characters into a gripping storyline.

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