Dr. Ian Stevenson: Background information when reading The Forgetting Time

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Forgetting Time

by Sharon Guskin

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin X
The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2016, 368 pages
    Feb 2017, 368 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Dr. Ian Stevenson

This article relates to The Forgetting Time

Print Review

Dr. Ian StevensonSharon Guskin's debut novel, The Forgetting Time, explores reincarnation – specifically children who seem to experience it. In an interview about her research, she explains that after stumbling across a book about Dr. Ian Stevenson and his intense research of children and reincarnation, she was hooked.

Ian Stevenson (1918-2007) was a psychiatrist and professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine for 50 years. His work focused on reincarnation and he spent over 40 years traveling around the world, studying over 3000 children who said they remembered having past lives. During that time, Stevenson pinpointed evidence suggesting that memories and physical injuries can be transferred from one lifetime to another. He specifically suggested that children who had unexplained memories, phobias, injuries, birthmarks or illnesses had gotten them during previous lives. (For instance, a child with an unexplained phobia of water might have drowned in a previous life.)

One child in particular triggered Stevenson's fascination with reincarnation. In 1960, he heard of a Sri Lankan boy who remembered a past life. Stevenson interviewed him, as well as his current parents and the people he said used to be his parents. The accuracy with which the boy described his former life, and the improbability of anything in his current life contributing to that knowledge, amazed Stevenson. After this experience, he felt that reincarnation was, indeed, real and his in-depth research began. Over the course of his lifetime, Stevenson wrote 300 papers and 14 books on the subject. Most of his cases come from countries where reincarnation is an accepted belief, and he posited that children were discouraged from exploring past life memories in cultures where it is not. The cases he studied typically had five things in common: the child communicated a past-life memory as soon as he could communicate at all (around 2 years old and sometimes up the age of 5), the child remembered his previous death in detail, the child's previous-life family is identified, personality traits and tastes are consistent between both lives, and gender usually stays the same.

There are many critics of his work, of course. They suggest that Stevenson was deceived by either the parents or the children themselves (or, in some cases, translators), that he asked leading questions, and that he only presented cases that supported his ideas.

Stevenson's obituary, published in The Telegraph, noted his feelings about his own death: "…he was apprehensive" but not scared... 'I have a feeling I'm going to be confronted with memories, some of which I won't like, and would like to expunge. But I do wonder, what parents could possibly want me as a baby?'"

Dr. Ian Stevenson, courtesy of Wikipedia

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Forgetting Time. It originally ran in February 2016 and has been updated for the February 2017 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Territory of Light
    Territory of Light
    by Yuko Tsushima
    Set in Tokyo during the late 1970s, Yūko Tsushima's Territory of Light chronicles a year in the...
  • Book Jacket: Unmarriageable
    by Soniah Kamal
    Soniah Kamal makes no secret of the fact that her novel Unmarriageable is a retelling of Jane Austen...
  • Book Jacket: The Paragon Hotel
    The Paragon Hotel
    by Lyndsay Faye
    Lyndsay Faye's arresting The Paragon Hotel focuses on how disparate groups of marginalized people ...
  • Book Jacket: When Death Becomes Life
    When Death Becomes Life
    by Joshua D. Mezrich
    Though it happened more than ten years ago, Joshua Mezrich still clearly remembers setting out in a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

As atmospheric, tense, and explosive as her New York Times bestselling debut, The Dry!

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Man
    by Jane Harper

    A stunning standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Night Tiger
    by Yangsze Choo

    "Wonderfully combines a Holmes-esque plot with Chinese lore."
    --PW, starred review
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Cherokee America

Cherokee America
by Margaret Verble

An epic novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud's Line.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

P C, Absolute P C A

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.