Stefan Merrill Block's debut novel The Story of Forgetting became an international literary sensation upon its publication in April 2008, and he's now touring in support of the paperback edition. But success has been something of a double-edged sword for Block. The book's plot concerns teenager Seth Waller, who is seeking answers about his mother's early-onset Alzheimer's disease, which causes her to run away from the assisted-care facility he calls "The Waiting Room." In real life, Block's family suffers from an early-striking form of Alzheimer's as well, but he remains upbeat, much like Waller himself in the book: "Soon after she was put in The Waiting Room," Block writes, "I had a perversely optimistic thought: that maybe if my mom forgot all the ways she had tried to make herself forget, she would be left with no choice but to remember."
Sun., May 10, 3 p.m., 2009