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Landscape: Memory (1990)

Landscape: Memory (1990)

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4.1 of 5 Votes: 5
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0684191857 (ISBN13: 9780684191850)
scribner book company

About book Landscape: Memory (1990)

Max is obsessed with understanding memory, and to help him he is encouraged to keep a record of his daily life as he sees it. Max is sixteen years old, the date he starts his record is August 1914, and the place is San Francisco. It is just a few years after the devastating earthquake, and construction of the 1915 San Francisco World's Fair is under way. Max lives with his very modern mother and father, but spends most of his time with Duncan his friend, a fine Persian boy he first met just after the earthquake.As Max keeps up his frequent entries central to his thoughts is the landscape drawing he is constructing along with his mother's help, a landscape drawn from memory, a recent summer spent near Bolinas, and much of his pontifications about memory relate directly to his drawing, but he also develops is thoughts on memory in other connections, sometimes at length. But Duncan features very much in Max's accounts too, the two boys appear devoted to each other, and during the course of the coming year their relationship becomes physical. Max's descriptions of their intimacies are beautifully recorded, all the more so for their complete innocence, it seems the two boys accept their deep friendship and where it leads unquestioningly and absolutely naturally.The account takes us from 1914 through to the beginning of 1916, and during that time the two boys begin their studies at Berkeley. We are reminded of the war raging in Europe by regular letters from Max's uncle who is serving with the British army. We also get a brief flash back to the earthquake as Max describes how he came through. The book is also illustrated with regular updates on the progress of Max's landscape.I loved this book, it is unusual in it construction, a series of diary entries and while it took a little while to warm to this I suddenly found myself entirely drawn into the story. The two boys are delightful, intelligent but unassuming, fit and lithe, they enjoy numerous adventure in and around San Francisco, sometimes getting up to good natured mischief, and their friendship is nothing short of perfection. However, there is tragedy to come, yet the book manages to leave one with positive feelings.t

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