Tuesday Books: ‘The Great Forgetting’ (James Renner)

Since watching Amazon’s “The Man In the High Castle”, a series based on a book by the same title, I have become more and more aware of stories that fit into the alternate history genre. Simply put, the storyline revolves around something taking place in history that did not actually take place. It is essentially a ‘what if…’ story. What if Kenedy wasn’t shot (Stephen King’s book ’11/22/63′)? What if Germany won WWII (‘The Man in the High Castle’ and ‘The Great Forgetting’, see below)? If you want to know more about this genre, you can check out the Wikipedia page, or for a list of books, check out Uchronia (I plan on reading some books off of their list).

‘The Great Forgetting’ by James Renner is a book from the alternate history genre. It is the story of a man looking for his friend who has been missing for over three years. When he starts visiting with the patient that his friend was treating before his disappearance, he begins to suspect that something very strange is going on. As he continues to search out the truth, the web of lies grows even more and more tangled. Before long, he realizes that he is one the verge of discovering the largest cover up in human history, aptly referred to as ‘The Great Forgetting.’ The challenge then becomes what to do about it: let people continue in their blissful ignorance or wake them up to the harsh truth? I don’t want to give too much away, so you will have to read the book to get more!

I enjoyed the idea of this book. I may have enjoyed the idea more than I enjoyed the actual book, but I did enjoy reading it. The plot is a bit slow at times and I struggled finding a character that I really liked, but overall I enjoyed the book. The alternate history part was fun and some of the way that he used real people in the alternate reality was interesting (like Stephen Hawking and D. B. Cooper). The ending sets the stage for a follow-up (maybe ‘The Great Remembering’?) and I would read that. It definitely makes me want to read more in this genre. Interesting stuff.

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