Giveaway: MEMORY WALL by Anthony Doerr
Posted on 03 May 2012
It’s May, which means it’s Short Story Month, which means it’s the perfect time to spread some story love. I’m participating in the Fiction Writers Review’s 2012 Collection Giveaway Project, and you can reap the benefits — a free copy of Anthony Doerr’s Memory Wall.
I picked up my copy in October at the Ohioana Awards ceremony. Memory Wall won the fiction award, but Doerr was unable to attend the ceremony. In his place, he sent his mother and a beautiful acceptance speech that made the rest of us feel a little outclassed (or is that just me?).
The collection contains seven stories that grapple with what the New York Times called the “relentless fascination with memory and with the way memories are destroyed, eroded, drowned, faded or eaten away.”
The title story surrounds 74-year-old Alma Konachek, a South African woman who pays to have her memories preserved. Every night, Roger Tshoni and Luvo, his young accomplice, break into her house to sift through those memories in their search for the priceless fossil Alma’s husband discovered just before his death. An excerpt:
Things don’t run in order. There is no A to B to C to D. All the cartridges are the same size, the same redundant beige. Yet some took place decades ago and others take place last year. They vary in intensity, too: Some pull Luvo into them and hold him for fifteen or twenty seconds; others wrench him into Alma’s past and keep him there for half an hour. Moments stretch; months vanish during a breath. He comes up gasping, as if he has been submerged underwater; he feels catapulted back into his own mind.
Sometimes, when Luvo comes back into himself, Roger is standing besides him, an unlit cigarette fixed in the vertex of his lips, staring into Alma’s cryptic wall of papers and postcards and cartridges as if waiting for some essential explanation to rise up out of it.
Doerr is a particular inspiration to me because he won Ohioana’s Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant in 2000, eleven years before I did, and in that time has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments: four O. Henry Prizes, the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and three Ohioana Book Awards, to name just a few. But more than that, he’s written complex and compelling stories.
To win a copy of Memory Wall, simply leave a comment on this post by midnight Pacific time on Thursday, May 31. Leave any comment you wish, but I encourage you to leave a memory. That’s right — any memory. I’ll choose a winner at random and announce the results on this blog. International entries are welcome. I may decide on a whim to name a runner-up to receive a copy of Living Arrangements, too.
Erika Dreifus is giving away a copy of Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision as part of this project, so stop by her site if you’d like to enter to win. If you want to participate in the Collection Giveaway Project yourself, go here. Good luck!