- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (3 Aug. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140284117
- ISBN-13: 978-0140284119
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Memory Box Paperback – 3 Aug 2000
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"Susannah was apparently perfect, as the dead so often become": Margaret Forster's The Memory Box opens with the challenge which runs right through this book. How do you get to know the dead? How can the dead make you get to know them? In this case, by leaving a box of strange, and disconnected, objects through which a daughter, Catherine, learns to trace the contours of her mother's life and the depths of her own loss in never having known her. Susannah, her mother, died when Catherine was six months old; she is brought up, happily, by her father and step-mother. Only on their deaths does she open the "memory box" and enter into the everyday complexity (there's no melodrama here) of her family life. Was Susannah perfect? And why did her loving husband marry so soon after her death? What has Catherine missed in never having known her? Critically acclaimed for, amongst others, Lady's Maid and Mothers' Boys, Forster brings a keen, and unsentimental, eye to her (at times remarkably painful) topic. She is, also, the biographer of Daphne du Maurier, and Forster has taken on her legacy of menace and romance (think of Rebecca) in this intelligent, and compelling, novel. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster is the author of many previous novels including LADY'S MAID, MOTHER'S BOYS and SHADOW BABY. She has also written bestselling works of non-fiction, including biographies of Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and HIDDEN LIVES and PRECIOUS LIVES about her own family. She lives in London and the Lake District.
Top Customer Reviews
It seems as if Foster is trying to convey the multitude of feelings her heroine is exeperiencing, and in many ways she succeeds, but it felt to me like she was playing with depth when infact the characterisations were decidely shallow.
I struggled not to put the book down in frustration and boredom, and when I had finally finished it I was left with that terrible downer you can only get from a disappointing read.
If you're looking for something superficially 'deep' and angst ridden then read this book. Otherwise give it a miss.
There were some parts of the book that made me gasp with our similarity, one phrase Catherine uses to explain her need for solitude is "only child syndrome". I have used that expression dozens of times to explain my need for my own space, and the way she finds it hard to keep friends as she doesn't put much effort into relaionships. I can identify with it all!
I think that only people who have lost their mothers at an early age will truly be able to understand this book, and I would like to thank Margaret Forster for helping me understand and come to terms with so many of my own emotions through reading it.
However, when I came to read it, the narrative is so full of (to me) irrelevant ramblings that I found myself skimming certain parts, just to get to a bit that might reveal something of what the memory box was intended to do. The book is obviously well-written but, as another reviewer put it, don't read it unless you are used to heavy-going reading!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having read lots of Margaret's Forsters books and loved them especially Shadow Baby I was disappointed with this book. Read morePublished on 8 May 2014 by Amazon Customer
The author had me gripped after the first couple of pages! Would recommend to my female friends straight away! Class!Published on 22 Aug. 2013 by Mr Kenneth Ware
This book was recommended to me as it illustrated what an established author had made of the use of a similar subject - this relates to a piece of writing I am undertaking and the... Read morePublished on 29 Jun. 2013 by Marguerite Styles
An elegantly-constructed novel about confronting the past. Catherine's mother Susannah died when she was a baby. Read morePublished on 2 Mar. 2012 by Kate Hopkins
Well worth a read, in depth emotions that challange your views & twist & turns. Well consider and well writtenPublished on 23 Sept. 2011 by M. N. Wilson
Sparsely written in an accessible style without too much lengthy description or unneccessary dialogue this was the journey inside the mind of Catherine - a tough, unhappy character... Read morePublished on 20 April 2011 by thisladylovesthelibrary
Catherine's birth mother Susannah died when she was just a young baby, leaving her with no memories of her at all. Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2011 by The story fiend
If you were dying would you put items into a Memory Box? If so, why? And what would you place in it? Susannah dies at the age of 31 leaving a baby (Catherine) who is 6 months old. Read morePublished on 16 Sept. 2010 by Bookaholic babe