All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang (2010)

“She said that the most memorable and significant relationships in literature have not typically fit into a conventional mode.  She said that longing matters in literature, more than love.  The power of that relationship which is undefinable.” (p. 102)

“Art made strange allies.” (p. 20)

The year is 1986; Roman, Lucy and Bernard are part of a seminar run by the feared and revered poet, Miranda Sturgis.  Miranda is notorious for her harsh critiques (“bludgeonings”), yet Roman and Bernard find themselves vying for her attention and praise.  As these four lives intersect over the course of twenty years, secrets are revealed, friendships are tested, and love is found and lost. Prevalent throughout the novel is the question of craft vs. talent in relation to writing.  Can poetry be taught?  Is it possible to improve as a writer over the course of time?  Can you write without soul?

Lan Samantha Chang’s elegant and vivid prose will draw you into this slip of a novel and haunt you long after you read the last page.  In All Is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost, Chang tackles some deep questions about writing, art, love, betrayal and self-worth.  I love, love, loved this book.


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