THE MEMORY PAINTER
Author: Gwendolyn Womack
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Internationally famous and reclusive artist Bryan Pierce has a secret. He paints memories of people who have lived in the past. His whole life he has suffered from these recalls. To keep his sanity he paints the dreams and hides from the world—until at an art opening, Linz Jacobs sees one of his paintings that is identical to a recurring nightmare she’s had her whole life. When they meet it becomes the catalyst for Bryan to begin to remember the life of a neuroscientist who died in an accident along with his wife in 1980, right as they were on the brink of curing Alzheimer’s. Solving the mystery of their deaths will lead Bryan and Linz to an even greater legacy buried deep in the past. Both a thriller and a timeless love story, THE MEMORY PAINTER spans six continents and more than 10,000 years.
“Our fates are intertwined. I will find you again and again until we build a bridge back to this life. Nothing is ever lost.”
My god it has been a while since a book had such a profound impact on me. I read a lot and constantly therefore find myself being harder and harder to impress. However, this read has totally blew me away. I have raved to anyone who would listen about how much I was enjoying the book. Gwendolyn Womack is a GENIUS! The book is so thoroughly well planned and researched that few times I had to remind myself I was reading fiction and events that were occurring even though they might coincide with nonfiction world they were used fictitiously. Looking at Gwendolyn’s bio it is no wonder that happened as she used her life experiences to make the story really come alive. After finishing this at 2am last night (who needs to be functional at work when you got a FANTASTIC fictional world holding you hostage) I had dreams that were throughly influenced by the read. The whole book was full of twists and turns and thought provoking events and questions BUT the end.. the end is what really got to me! When all things unraveled… actions that triggered the events of the entire book… thousands years in the making… So of course I took all of that with me intro dream land which felt like hallucination trip as I was convinced my dogs were the reincarnations of my past life friends by the morning. 😆
I am Bryan Pierce. I am standing in my studio. I am here now. I am Bryan Pierce. I am standing in my studio. I am here now. I am Bryan Pierce. He forced the words into his consciousness, grabbing onto their simple truth like a child reaching for the string of a kite. The words were the only thing that kept him from flying away.
This beautiful story follows present day Bryan Pierce, an artist by trade who all his life had dreams of people from different times and places in history. Dreams that were not pure dreams but were recollections of his past self. Little pieces of him coming together. With each recollection he would remember all his life and with it ALL that it entailed, happy and sad times. The only way he stayed sane is becoming a hermit only resurfacing when necessary but mostly staying to himself as the more he recalled the more he saw the people he encountered as the past souls from his previous lives. That saying that says that eyes are the window to the soul is very much on point in this book. We are immediately thrown into Bryan’s life with a vision, as a reader we see what he sees, we somewhat experience what he does in his recollection but the effect is the one he has to deal with himself. The only way he functions is by drawing that what he sees in hopes of finding someone, anyone who can relate or recognize the importance of his art work…
By serendipity or perhaps predestination he runs into Linz Jacobs at a museum, soul he recognizes as the one he is always closest to. Linz Jacobs is a neurogeneticist whose work focuses on decoding genes that make memories. Although Linz does not share the profound revelation upon meeting Bryan as he does she does realize he is important on an unconscious level. Her rational mind screams irrational but her soul… her being telling her that Bryan is the answer to a question she doesn’t know exist to be asked.
In the end they are two souls who are always together in their reincarnations even if they are not always of romantic nature but they do share a connection at a profound level. That poses the question whether you reincarnate through pure chance or perhaps with another soul that at one point through the time you formed a strong bond that will keep you tied together through eternity(?). That is the biggest question of the book, biggest one you can discuss to no end as I believe there is no right answer. I have my own thoughts on this and having read the book know what the author destined for her fictional characters.
Even though the whole story revolves around the present day Bryan and Linz, the story unfolds many past lives both from their recollections as the story develops and from secondary characters. There is a huge overlap of NOW timeline of Bryan/Linz and their past reincarnate that is arguably trigged by their past lives of Michael and Diana and their research team that in a way triggered the events. Their science opened the door to the metaphysicals that goes beyond religion and sociology. To the points of do we really have any new habits or everything gets passed down but we are just not aware of it as none of us have reached the level of recalling past lives. I don’t know… again it’s fiction and I’m getting lost again.
“Between the beginning and the end, this life is but one moment.”
So in its heart this book poses a lot of theological questions for the mind as well as providing a great story line full of mystery and suspense. I wasn’t bored a minute reading this and often lost chunks of time falling so deeply into the story. This book is definitely going into the re-read section… perhaps even a try for the audiobook… or even needs to be read as a book club as I would have LOVED to discuss EVERYTHING.
~Ebook gifted in exchange for an honest review.~
Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college while freezing in the tundra at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. During that time she lived in St. Petersburg, Russia on an independent study working with theater companies. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing theater and film where she was encouraged to write her own material. After graduating she focused on writing feature screenplays and was a semi-finalist in the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship. In 2009 she moved to Japan and began to write THE MEMORY PAINTER the following year. Currently she resides in Southern California with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. THE MEMORY PAINTER is her first novel.