A novelist and a neuroscientist uncover the secrets of human memory.
What makes us remember? Why do we forget? And what, exactly, is a memory?
With playfulness and intelligence, Adventures in Memory answers these questions and more, offering an illuminating look at one of our most fascinating faculties. The authors—two Norwegian sisters, one a neuropsychologist and the other an acclaimed writer—skillfully interweave history, research, and exceptional personal stories, taking readers on a captivating exploration of the evolving understanding of the science of memory from the Renaissance discovery of the hippocampus—named after the seahorse it resembles—up to the present day. Mixing metaphor with meta-analysis, they embark on an incredible journey: “diving for seahorses” for a memory experiment in Oslo fjord, racing taxis through London, and “time-traveling” to the future to reveal thought-provoking insights into remembering and forgetting. Along the way they interview experts of all stripes, from the world’s top neuroscientists to famous novelists, to help explain how memory works, why it sometimes fails, and what we can do to improve it.
Filled with cutting-edge research and nimble storytelling, the result is a charming—and memorable—adventure through human memory.
“The Østby sisters—one a novelist and the other a neuropsychologist— have combined their strengths to produce a lyrically written and lucidly reasoned exploration of how memory works. Diving for Seahorses is full of fascinating characters and indelible scenes that will continue tumbling around in your mind long after you’ve turned its last page.”
—Luke Dittrich, author of Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets
“Gorgeously researched and written, this is science told as a page-turner rather than a treatise. Be prepared to emerge with a different sense of your life’s memories. A book you can’t forget.”
— David Eagleman, PhD , neuroscientist, New York Times bestselling author, creator, and presenter of the PBS television series The Brain
— David Eagleman
About the Authors:
Hilde Østby is a writer and editor and the author of Encyclopedia of Love and Longing, a novel about unrequited love that was published to critical acclaim in Norway. She has a master’s degree in History of Ideas from the University of Oslo.
Ylva Østby is a clinical neuropsychologist with a PhD from the University of Oslo who devotes her research to the study of memory. She is also vice-president of the Norwegian Neuropsychological Society. She lives in Oslo, Norway.
Sam Kean is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, among other publications.