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Forgetting Zoe Paperback – 19 May 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009953763X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099537632
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An award-winning short story writer, novelist and screenwriter, Robinson first won attention in 2006 with his debut novel, Electricity (Picador, 2006). It was shortlisted for both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Authors' Club First Novel Award. The film adaptation of Electricity, starring Agyness Deyn as Lily, made its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2014.

Robinson's other novels are The Man Without (Picador, 2008), Forgetting Zoe (Heinemann, 2010), and Jawbone Lake (Heinemann, 2014). Forgetting Zoe was a winner of the inaugural Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize and was the Observer's 'Thriller of the Month'. Robinson was hailed as 'among the most impressive voices of Britain's younger generation' by the Irish Times.

Robinson is a post-graduate of Lancaster University, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in Creative Writing in 2006, and is an Editor and Mentor for The Literary Consultancy. He has appeared at literary festivals around the world, including La Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Product Description


"I read Forgetting Zoë with great pleasure, admiration, and envy. What a writer. The characters are so sharply drawn they're etched into the page... Captivating. A great storytelling achievement." (Tim Pears)

"A convincing portrait of how childhood brutality is passed down the generations...Direct in its depiction of abuse, Forgetting Zoë is never less than psychologically acute." (Financial Times)


Stockholm syndrome is a curious but understandable condition, intelligently and vividly explored by Ray Robinson...Ray Robinson is a writer with keen observation. His prose is hard, abrupt and sinewy...It is a novel that contains violence but also stillness, that reveals more than it makes explicit...A mature and accomplished work.

" (Allan Massie The Scotsman)

"Very provocative...Powerfully done." (Tom Sutcliffe Saturday Review, Radio 4)

"Terribly convincing...The ventriloquism is very skilled." (Kevin Jackson Saturday Review, Radio 4)

Book Description

A moving and powerful novel from the author of the much-acclaimed Electricity

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. C. Cutter on 27 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
I read my first Ray Robinson novel, 'The Man Without' early last year, and have been eagerly awaiting 'Forgetting Zoe' on the strength of it. Glad to say I've not been disappointed!

'Forgetting Zoe' is a novel that confronts the seedier, more twisted aspects of human nature, focusing on the abduction of the young Zoe by Thurman Hayes, a psychologically damaged man whose inferiority complex drives him to the extreme lengths we see in this book.

But the novel isn't solely 'about' the abduction: the novel's scope is much broader, turning its lens on the girl's absent father and guilt-stricken mother, the abductor's troubled past, and the fascinating complexities of Stockholm Syndrome where the captive grows attached to the captor. Nor is the tone unremittingly bleak: there are moments of tenderness and compassion that are all the more striking for their unlikelihood.

Faced with this kind of material, other novelists may have laid the portent and gravitas on thickly for the 'benefit' of the reader, but from what I've read so far, a Robinson novel is never far from a surprising twist that will drop the reader squarely into the thoroughly researched and vividly imagined reality of his characters. Robinson also knowns how a good thriller operates too, and I found myself returning to 'Forgetting Zoe' with an urgency I've not felt since reading Cormack McCarthy's 'The Road' (the author has spoken about his admiration for McCarthy's work, so hopefully he won't feel too embarrassed by the comparison).

With three successful novels under his belt (I've not read 'Electricity' yet, but I'm told it's excellent), I think it's safe to say we have an author who's gone from showing great potential to fully realising it and producing books that are on a par with the great established authors we have today.

I look forward to Robinson's next book. In the mean time, I'm going to go pick up a copy of 'Electricity'!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Fictional stories of child abductions have become more prevalent in books in the last few years, as has the device of writing from children's perspectives in these novels (such as in `Room') or in other `current topics' (I am thinking of `Pigeon English' which I have just started) its almost become it's own genre in a way. Well, I think so. With this in mind I went into reading `Forgetting Zoe' by Ray Robinson with a mixture of `oh here we go again' along with `go on, impress me, do something different'.

On Friday October the 8th 1999 a ten year old girl by the name of Zoe Neilsen suddenly vanishes on the way to school. This shocks the inhabitants of the small island, just off Newfoundland, is immense, it's a place where people leave their doors unlocked and trust their neighbours. The people it doesn't come as a shock to are the readers of this book, as for 50 pages leading up to this we have been given an insight into the twisted and disturbing childhood of Thurman Hayes, the man who we soon to discover, with an all too familiar feeling of history repeating itself, has abducted her. Zoe has become one of those children who `disappear at a mile a minute' in fact Zoe is now in a bunker 4000 miles from home.

I found the way Robinson put us first in the mind of Thurman Hayes was a particularly clever move, it throws the reader off as they watch the victim of child abuse become the abuser. (Unless of course you read the blurb, I hadn't thankfully, which gives away practically the whole storyline. Publishers, why do you do this?) The fact you feel for him when he lives with such a tyrant as one parent, and complete denial ridden doormat of another, makes the sudden change throw you out of step. Robinson has pulled the rug from under your feet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AbigailSPaul on 4 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I had been recommended this novel to read and was really nervous about picking it up, because of its focus on child abduction - this is not something I want to read about in my spare time, to be honest. However, I was so glad I did because Robinson has managed to turn a disturbing and uncomfortable subject matter into a beautifully written and sensitive page-turner that avoids the usual gruesome shock-tactics to keep your attention. With so much media hysteria about these cases in the real world, it was refreshing to read a sensitive portrayal of child abduction that conveys the deeply sad circumstances of all the protagonists involved (something that is simply glossed over in media reports of such cases). I loved his convincing descriptions of the landscape - you are transported right into the middle of the desert - as well as the empathy shown to the complex characters. The book's pace quickens the further you get into it and you become hooked. But again, the culmination of the story is not over-egged and I was pleased that Robinson chose a measured and respectful ending for Zoe. Will definitely put it on the agenda for our next book club.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D Belbin on 23 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
The early part of this novel reminded me of the great Daniel Woodrell, no small praise given that the author is English. I agree with the review above, the less you know about the story the better, so don't read the blurb on the back. This is an absorbing, very well written, superbly plotted crime thriller that successfully combines western noir with Nordic elements. I polished it off in three sittings and will be checking out more of Robinson's work.
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