Reviewed by Dennis Menard
The Forgetting Time starts off evasively telling two seemingly unrelated stories of unrelated characters. A usual writer’s dodge, which in this case fails on page fifty when you see where you are being led. This does not diminish the book’s potential to capture the reader’s attention, however. A magician’s stage act does not diminish just because you sneak a peek of him practicing his craft backstage. In the case of this book it lets you in on a little secret. And knowing that secret makes you part of the mystery. So, as in a good whodunit, when too soon it is obvious the butler did indeed do it, you still willingly go along for the ride to the end of the book.
The book is about a single mother, Janie, and her four year-old son Noah. Noah, as so many children do, suffers from nightmares. But here is the twist: in these nightmares he drowns. Upon waking the boy begs to go home. But he IS home. Janie, seeking help, soon runs out of time, patience and money. Then she comes upon a psychiatrist who suggests the boy is suffering from past-life trauma. Skeptical but desperate Janie joins the psychiatrist to try and unlock the secret to the boy’s past to bring him some rest in the present.
I personally find the concept of reincarnation rather repugnant. I have no such wish of myself on a karmic merry-go-round of do-overs. But I suppose it makes just as much sense as anything does. I do after all separate my glass, paper, and plastic for recycling, why should I not do the same with my soul? So though I would personally rather go around just the once in life, grabbing for all the gusto I can, knowing when I shuffle off this mortal coil it is indeed over, I am open to debate. So, not much caring to take part in the reincarnation roller coaster ride myself, I very much enjoyed being an armchair participant.
The only down side I might say about the book is that Sharon Guskin tied up all loose ends just a bit too tightly. Not that I would have wanted any loose. But a few floppy ones would have been nice. And so, I found Sharon Guskin’s The Forgetting Time, a compelling page turner which I polished off in one sitting.
Dennis Menard is an artist. You can find his work at dennismenard.nl.