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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In 2001, a truly innovative movie was released, entitled Memento, in which the subject of memory, and how it is framed in our psyche, was explored in a thoroughly unique way.
In her debut novel, Spilling Clarence, author Anne Ursu also approaches the subject of memory, and the ways in which it is repressed. Set in the fictional town of Clarence, Minnesota, this insightful tale begins when a local pharmaceutical plant specializing in the production of psychiatric drugs catches fire and issues a Code 121, indicating "likely airborne dispersal."
The fire is brought under control, and the incident is downplayed until the denizens of Clarence begin to experience some strange side effects. Through their contact with a particular chemical, they begin to remember all the things they have chosen to forget over the course of their lives -- scenes of love and death, war and childhood -- and find themselves overcome by the weight of their recovered memories. "Perhaps the mind's ability to make the past malleable is essential for our survival…. What would it do to us if we remembered our childhoods, our whole lives, every day?"
In Spilling Clarence, Ursu has created a thought-provoking and timely tale, liberally seasoned with charm and good humor. This is a fiction debut that challenges readers to think about the past and their memories as never before. (Winter 2002 Selection)