An Absent Mind is a riveting new novel from Eric Rill, author of Pinnacle of Deceit and The Innocent Traitor, is about a race against time. The ticking time bomb is Saul Reimer's sanity. His Alheimer's is going to be the catalyst that will either bring his family together or tear it apart.
Alzheimer's is a difficult journey for any individual or family to take and there is no opt out. In An Absent Mind, Eric Rill takes on a family's journey as their patriarch is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The story is told in a unique fashion, first person that swings from one family member to another, including occasionally, Saul's doctor. I liked the easy back and forth of switching from one person's story to another.
As Saul's Alzheimer's progresses, his point of views becomes shorter and shorter until they are only one garbled sentence. And as the story evolves, we see the effect Saul's condition has on each member of the family, how they cope and grow or how they don't cope. Nothing is a given, nothing is for sure, as this family struggles to survive.
Rill tells a story that captures you and keeps you turning pages to the end--it is a journey through Alzheimer's and while it can't be called everyone's journey, it opens the door on the effect, both good and bad, that the disease can have on a family and on the patient. And despite all the pain and the inevitable end, this story has heart and gets to the pulse of what family is all about.
I gave it five stars.
An excerpt from An Absent Mind:
SAUL: MY LAST PLACE ON EARTH
It's all unraveling.
Last night, I found myself somewhere on Monkland Avenue. I had no idea how I got there. I looked in a store window and saw my reflection. It took me a bit to figure it all out --like that the person in the window was a man, and that the man was me.
I didn't know what to do. I glanced down at the bracelet on my wrist and everything--well, not everything, but the gist of it all came back to me. I am Saul Reimer, formerly a healthy, intelligent man, married to the same woman for many years, and the father of two children he loves more than anything in the world.
The key word is formerly, as I am sure you have already figured out. Because today--and I have no idea what day it is, other than it is really cold and I wish I had a jacket on--I am nothing, not a real man, that's for sure. I mean, how can you be a real man when you don't even know where you are half the time, and when you do know, more often than not, you can't grasp the concept of your surroundings?
I felt in my pocket for my wallet, but it wasn't there. All I had was my bank card. I spotted an ATM machine at the corner. But when I got there, I couldn't figure out how to work it. A woman walked up from behind. I gestured for her to go in front of me. She smiled and said that she was in no rush. I looked at the machine with all the words flashing across the screen. My hands were getting slimy, and beads of that wet stuff covered my forehead. Why couldn't she just go first? Then suddenly, it all made sense. I followed the directions, but it took a few tries to get the card into the machine with the strip the right way. I looked behind me again. The woman was fidgeting with her purse strap. Then the machine asked me for a personal identification number. The bad news is, I had no idea what it was. My brain is like a short-wave radio, mostly static that occasionally finds the station, but even then the sound isn't always clear.
In a way, it will be a blessing, when my mind is totally gone, when I am a vegetable, slouched in a wheelchair. Like many Alzheimer's patients on Montreal's West Side, I'll probably make a pit stop at Manoir Laurier. Then when Manoir Laurier can't cope with me, or we can't afford it anymore, they'll ship me off to Belfrage Hospital, my final stop on this beloved earth. I'll be there incontinent, drooling, and incoherent--that is, if I can even manage to get a word through my blistered lips. And when it's all over--when my heart finally gives out, or I contract pneumonia and my family says, "Let Saul go; he deserves some peace"--when that happens, they'll take me down to the autopsy room, cut my skull open and find the tangles and plaques on my brain. Then they will be able to say with 100 percent certainty that Saul Reimer had Alzheimer's.
Eric Rill was born in Montreal and graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts and from UCLA with an MBA. He held several executive positions in the hospitality industry, including president of a global hotel group. His hobbies include trekking, scuba diving, and coll Recting antique carpets. Eric has two sons and divides his time between his residence in Panama and international travel. You can reach him at his website: www.ericrill.com
Absent Mind can be purchased at:
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