Past Forgetting : My Memory Lost and Found

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9780060194307: Past Forgetting : My Memory Lost and Found

A love story, a mystery, and a memory guide, Past Forgetting shows a writer's determination to re-create her life. Jill Robinson, novelist and author of Bed/Time/Story, wakes from a coma to discover she's lost her memory and just about any sense of who she was. And is.

She likes the look of the man standing next to her bed, but doesn't recognize that he's her husband, Stuart. What matters is that she feels safe around him. As she searches the house for her children, she is reminded that her son and daughter are both grown with families of their own--how well did she ever know them? Can You make up for a past you don't really remember?

It is Stuart who begins to fill in the details for Jill, including the fact that she's a well-known writer, although when she meets with her doctors, they say she may never write again.

Against all odds, Jill Robinson retrieved her unique writing voice, and in this engaging memoir shows how she does it. She takes us with her on her exploration of'tlie connections between memory and creativity, celebrity and anonymity, and loss and discovery. From her first tentative steps outside her house on Wimpole Street to London's sleek West End. From a trip to Oxford to discuss memory with a professor to her amazing voyage to Los Angeles on an assignment for Vanity fair which takes her back to the sixties world of Hockney, Polanski, and Hopper, Jill forges new paths to memory.

In Past Forgetting, Jill Robinson rediscovers friendships she doesn't know she had: Robert Redford tells her stories about her childhood; at John Lahr's London literary teas, she's reintroduced to the writer's world, and Cary Grant offers her memories of her father, Dore Schary. And being with Barbra Streisand reminds her of a time she doesn't quite remember: when her father was running MGM.

In her urgent voyage to redefine herself, Jill asks all the questions you've ever asked on the nature of memory. Is recollection shadowed by emotion? Is memory an act of reinvention? Do people reinvent rather than recollect? In Past Forgetting you'll find the answers and you'll meet a writer you won't want to forget.

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About the Author:

Jill Robinson has written nine books, including the bestsellers Perdido and her seminal memoir, Bed/Time/Story. She grew up in Hollywood, where her father ran MGM, and writes about issues of love and loss for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times. Robinson runs the Wimpole Street Writers Group in London, where she lives with her husband, Stuart Shaw.

Review:

"Past Forgetting is a book that will not easily be forgotten for Jill Robinson takes the reader on a memorable and frightening journey into the world of the amnesiac. What Robinson never lost was her ability to write powerful prose." -- Anne Edwards

"An exquisitely written and perceptive book describing a traumatic interruption in a woman's life. There are lessons here for everyone. This is a brilliant probe of the value of memory and a sense of continuity of personal events...An absolute pleasure to read." -- Anne Rice

"Here is the wondrous and brave Jill Robinson demonstrating the extraordinarily penetrating ways she has of rediscovering her amazing life. Her writing is subtle and beautiful--filled with grace and pain. Once you open Past Forgetting you won't be able to put it down." (Patricia Bosworth) REVIEW""Having lost her memory, and fearful she would never write again, Jill Robinson set out to prove that she could--magnificently! Past Forgetting is painfully honest, compellingly readable, enormously entertaining, and ultimately triumphant! Bravo!" -- Evan Hunter

"Jill Robinson's new book is totally engrossing. I would expect no less from her, but--amazingly--the subject of the book is the loss of memory, and her honesty, her humor, and her brilliant gift for individual sentences stopped this reader's world, as well. Sure, I remember Jill: always on the edge, always taking a risk, both personally and professionally, always focused sharply on every charm on the bracelet, though the jangle--the general look and feel and sound of things--might have preoccupied us if she hadn't stopped to play with, and to offer up, each individual part. This is my favorite of her books so far--one I think readers will extrapolate meaning from, checking their own lives against the writer's expanding consciousness, involving us as participants in fashioning the odd cat's cradle of past and present, memory and mistake that links the important, and the seemingly inconsequential, moments of our lives." -- Ann Beattie

"One of Hollywood's genuine princesses has produced an extraordinary work: a memoir about her amnesia. The extraordinary thing is--it works." -- Carolyn See

It is a rare, almost heroically well-written, at times hair-raising account of what the experience is really like, from the inside. -- The New York Times Book Review, Reeve Lindbergh

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