Malcolm Firth is an aging hairdresser whose partner, Denis, is wasting away from memory loss. Malcolm works at a zany Vancouver hair salon where he trains Alison, a young ingenue from the suburbs, amidst a staff of eccentric urbanoid hair stylists. Their clients include a troop of old people, one of whom is a Holocaust survivor. It is this old woman who provides innocent Alison with her first glimpse into the depredations of the human race. When one of Alison's gay friends is brutally murdered by skinheads, she is soon propelled on a harrowing journey of sorrow and the getting of wisdom. Haunted by the death of her friend, she wanders the rings of a psychological and spiritual inferno, bringing the slowly dissipating Malcolm with her. Her obsession takes them to post-communist Poland where they struggle to reconstitute the past in the killing grounds of Auschwitz. How do we remember our history? Why are the same cruelties repeated through time? These are the urgent questions that underpin this powerful first novel from one of Canada's most emotionally daring young writers. Rich in its emotional ground, beautifully pitched, and written in a refined and assured prose style, A History of Forgetting is a most compelling book. Caroline Adderson is a virtuoso conjurer of the human condition. (1999)
About the author
Caroline Adderson is the author of Very Serious Children (Scholastic 2007), a novel for middle readers about two brothers, the sons of clowns, who run away from the circus. I, Bruno (Orca 2007) and Bruno for Real are collections of stories for emergent readers featuring seven year-old Bruno and his true life adventures.
Caroline Adderson also writes for adults and has won two Ethel Wilson Fiction Prizes, three CBC Literary Awards, as well as the 2006 Marion Engel Award given annually to an outstanding female writer in mid-career. Her numerous nominations include the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Most recently, Caroline was the Vancouver Public Library's 2008 Writer-in-Residence.
Her eight year-old son Patrick and his many friends inspire her children's writing. Caroline and her family live in Vancouver, British Columbia.