Ruth Deacon’s academic career is in the doldrums, her marriage is in shreds, an elderly relative with dementia has become an impossible burden. Ruth needs a miracle.
It comes in the form of ‘The Memory Book’.
Edith Barratt, an elderly writer seeing out her last days in a nursing home, has decided to entrust a lifetime of writings to Ruth, to publish after her death. And, by also giving her the ‘Memory Book’, she breaks a lifetime of silence about a youthful love that has dominated her entire life.
Ruth eagerly seizes on this material – it could rescue her career. When she discovers that Edith’s one-time love was an idealistic soldier of the Third Reich, she is even more encouraged. But then she finds herself faced with a challenge: that of exploring the gap between memory and desire, reality and illusion. Did Edith’s young German truly love her? And what is the
significance of a half-remembered melody sung by Fred Astaire?
Starting in Belfast, moving through pre-war Berlin and returning to
Ireland’s tentative and fragile peace of 1995, Sophia Hillan’s new novel traces a path to those things that cannot, in the end, be taken away.