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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Fiction's Science Lessons

An interesting article in The Guardian:  Fiction's Science Lessons.  The article is by Charles  Fernyhough, author of Pieces of Light.

I read the article, then looked up Fernyhough's novel.  I'm adding Pieces of Light to my list after reading this description on Amazon:

Why we remember what we remember? Memory is an essential part of who we are. But what is a memory, and how do we remember? A new consensus is emerging among cognitive scientists: rather than possessing a particular memory from our past, we construct it anew each time we are called upon to remember. Remembering is an act of narrative as much as it is the product of a neurological process. "Pieces of Light" illuminates this theory through a collection of human stories, each illustrating a facet of memory's complex synergy of cognitive and neurological functions. Drawing on the latest research, case studies and personal experience, Charles Fernyhough delves into the memories of trauma victims and amnesiacs; and of the very young and very old - visiting medieval memoria and scent-museums along the way. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, "Pieces of Light" blends science and literature, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to illuminate the way we remember and forget.


  1. Pieces of Light is nonfiction, correct? In reading about Fernyhough on-line, I realized I had heard an excellent presentation at a conference awhile back where the speaker referenced extensively The Baby in the Mirror, his book about his daughter's first three years of life. At the time, I made a mental time to buy it, and forgot until just now--speaking of the construction of memory! Now I want both books (Baby....published in US under different name, not as evocative in my opinion.

  2. Yes, it is nonfiction. And I'm adding The Baby in the Mirror to my list! Funny that when U.S. publishers change the name, they often choose a less evocative one. I've noticed this before; also makes things more confusing.

  3. This sounds fascinating. I must read it since I can't remember anything anymore.