The Great Forgetting

Sarah Crichton: Farrar. Nov. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780374298791. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374714208. SF
Jack Felter returns home to rural Ohio when his father's dementia worsens. He reconnects with former love Sam, whose husband, Tony, has gone missing. Tony was a child psychiatrist at the local hospital, and one of his patients, a boy named Cole, seems to have information about what might have happened to him. In order to find out what young Cole knows, Jack must follow him down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. Cole believes that the government is drugging Americans to make them forget their history, and substituting a more palatable version of events. This great forgetting might mean that we are doomed to repeat the violent acts we are meant to forget.
VERDICT Renner is skilled at constructing intricate puzzles in his books (such as in the marvelous The Man from Primrose Lane). Here, the author makes the most outlandish conspiracies plausible not only to his protagonist but to readers as well. Inventive Easter eggs are scattered throughout as part of the alternative history that Cole is convinced we have forgotten. The plot might be over the top, but it's a fun ride.
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