The Forgotten Hours
By Katrin Schumann
Lake Union Publishing; hardcover, $24.95; Kindle eBook, $4.99; available Friday, February 1
Katrin Schumann, an editor and teacher who has a life-long passion for stories that explore the grey and ambiguous areas of the human heart, has written a story that is both timely and evocative in her powerful debut novel, The Forgotten Hours.
Katie Gregory is a 24-year old who feels like a grown-up as she is embarking on a career in New York City, has set up her own apartment, and thinks she may be falling in love with a captivating Israeli artist. She feels that, finally, the traumatic memories of her past are no longer weighing her down.
Katie’s life fell apart when her best friend accused her father of sexual assault. Throughout the subsequent trial and his imprisonment, Katie steadfastly felt that her dad was innocent and turned her back on her friend and a deaf ear to the accusations.
Now, her father is being released from prison and needs her help, and with his requests, there are questions about what really happened that fateful night. When Katie returns to the shuttered lakeside cabin, she is besieged by vivid memories: the chill of the lake at night, the heat of first love, and the terrible sting of jealousy.
Viewing the past through the prism of new adulthood, Katie is forced to call into question everything she once accepted as her reality, and she can no longer deny the need to uncover the truth,
Schumann has written this novel via two timelines, one going moment by moment during the night in question, and in the present as Katie faces the implications of her father’s return to her life. Torn loyalties are played out against conflicting versions of history, in a story told from the perspective of a passionate and invested bystander of both the accused and the accuser.
Schumann conceived of this book years ago as she witnessed two close friends become embroiled in legal proceedings around separate assault and consent charges, each on polar opposites of the spectrum. With empathy to the pain on both sides, she sought to encapsulate that tension and confusion in her book. The questions she raises about consent and power differentials in sex is so prescient as to have been ripped from the headlines in the #MeToo era.
The Forgotten Hours is a story that digs deep into the essence of relationships, starting with how we see our parents, a first infatuation compared to mature love, and the bonds of childhood friendship that can erode or strengthen as time goes on.
About the Author, Katrin Schumann:
Schumann was born in Freiburg, Germany, and moved to Brooklyn when she was two years old. She attended the local public school and was one of just a few white children in her class. At the age of eleven, just as the punk rock scene was raging, her family moved to London, England, where she went to an all-girls school and spent much of her energy rebelling against her parents.
She was awarded a scholarship to Oxford University, where she studied French and German Literature and played ice hockey, winning a Half Blue. She went on to work at British Sky Broadcasting in London and received a graduate degree in Journalism from Stanford University.
Schumann then lived with her husband and growing family in Chicago, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, working in various capacities, including at National Public Radio, where she was granted the Kogan Media Award. They now live in Boston and Key West.
The author of five nonfiction books who has collaborated on dozens of additional titles, Schumann was featured multiple times on NBC’s Today, Talk of the Nation, and The Times in London. For the past ten years, she has been teaching fiction and nonfiction, most recently at GrubStreet, which is the largest independent writing center in the United States, and at local prisons through PEN New England.
She helped design and run Grub’s innovative program for debut authors, “The Launch Lab.” Each year, she participates in The Muse and the Marketplace, voted the #1 Writing Conference in America by The Writer Magazine, running sessions on craft, author marketing and media training. She is the incoming Program Coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar and Workshops.
In addition to The Forgotten Hours, Lake Union will be publishing her second novel, The House of a Thousand Eyes, in February 2020.