Book Reviews

Reset by Paolo Pergola

What Da Cover Says: Lapo is a marine biologist who wakes up one day in a hospital bed after an accident that caused him amnesia. When distant memories slowly resurface and the weight of modern life becomes apparent, he realizes that having an empty head was not so bad. Like a present-day Oblomov, Lapo clings to his hospital routine to avoid the outside world, fending off the attacks of family and friends who continuously pester him. As the days go by, the pressure for Lapo to go back to his normal life keeps mounting. Will he ever leave the hospital or will he settle there for good? Lost pieces of his history may provide the answer. Interspersed with intimate thoughts and daydreams about the lives of the fish he used to study, Lapo’s epic struggle is filled with irony and depth in equal measure. Nostalgic and provocative, Reset is an existentialist journey through the inner world of a man who has lost the thread of life and finds it again in nature and his past.

What I Says: The narrator in this book is Lapo, a victim of an accident who wakes up in a hospital with multiple broken bones and amnesia. We join him just after he has got his memory back, there is one thing that I’ve never considered before about amnesia (in fact this is the first time I’m come across this idea) when you get your memory back you are left with dual memories of everybody you’ve met between waking up and the return of your memories. For example you would know your parents all your life but you would also have memories of them sat at your side and you having no idea who they are….this almost hurts my head as much as understanding time paradoxes. This muddled memory sets the tone for the book, Lapo’s nostalgic trip into his past memories as they suddenly turn up make this a nice easy going book. And his problem with remembering names confused the hell out of me at first, the main doctor’s name always having one letter changed tricked me into thinking there were many doctors.

You can see that Lapo has been traumatised by the accident, he feels safe in the hospital with his day all set up for him, you can sense his mistrust of those from his past who turn up to visit him and as his earliest memories come back he seems to get stuck in a childlike mode, the only people he truly seems to trust are his niece and a nurse who reminds him of a girl from when he was at school. All of this just makes Lapo all the more loveable and you find yourself hoping he finds a way to stay in the hospital where he’ll be safe.

The book is written in a sort of stream of consciousness, whole conversations are written in the same paragraph with very little punctuation and the next chapter starts a few spaces after the last one ends, not on a new page as per normal. For me this worked, it helps you to share the disjointed world Lapo has found himself in. The characters are interesting and I liked how the book is set in a bed at a hospital, I enjoyed this journey through Lapo’s memories very much, it certainly makes me want to check out more by Paolo Pergola.

Thanks to Sagging Meniscus Press for sending me a copy of this book. If you want to check it out you can find it HERE:

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