Thursday 7 April 2016

Guest Post: David Sanger on the idea behind All Their Minds in Tandem

What All Their Minds in Tandem is about
by David Sanger

The idea at the heart of ‘All Their Minds in Tandem’ is if you could forget a memory and replace it with something better, would you? At first, I think a lot of people would, me included. But then without memories, even the difficult ones, would we lose an essential part of ourselves? Is forgetting the solution or perhaps the beginning of the problem?

This idea is inherited by the book and, more specifically, by Emerson who visits a small West Virginian town in 1879 touting a memory-replacement service. The Civil War ended 14 years earlier but the memory of it, often painful, is everywhere. For Emerson, business is booming. Yet for someone who works elbow-deep in the minds of others, Emerson is starting to show the effects of the job. He is an exhausted tradesman, not only troubled by the wares he is selling, but by his own memories; memories, however easy it might be, he refuses to replace.

Others in the town feel the same. Odell, who fondly recalls the encouraging words of his mother when confronted by the harsh reality of his father; or Kittie Marianne, who conjures the memories of her uncle as frequently as she once visited him. Whilst for some, forgetting is an essential step they are determined to take, such as Ora, working in the town tavern and dreaming of escape; or the local doctor, Umbründ, who sees salvation in Emerson’s advert.

The book is about our relationship with memory and how it can at once be personal and shared; comforting and terrifying. They infuse our minds and slow our steps and we can either embrace them or turn away. Whichever we chose though, we never truly pull free.

All Their Minds in Tandem by David Sanger is out in hardback on 7th April (£14.99, Quercus)

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