Nothing Is Forgotten

Written by Peter Golden
Review by Julia C. Fischer

In 1962 Orange, New Jersey, Michael Daniels is a 19-year-old at loose ends following the tragic deaths of his parents. Emma Dainov, Michael’s grandmother and a Russian-Jewish immigrant who fled the Soviet Union following World War II, tries to help Michael find his way while she runs the town’s popular sweetshop. With Emma’s help, Michael hosts a radio show in which he is the “Mad Russian,” playing American rock and roll music while criticizing the politics of the USSR. The radio show becomes a hit, and is even broadcast in Russia, but Michael’s growing success is marred by the violent murder of his grandmother.

Following her death, Michael embarks on a quest to discover why his grandmother, Emma, was killed. As he travels to Munich, the Soviet Union, Paris, Nice, and California, Michael slowly unravels Emma’s secret history. As the truth of Emma’s past draws nearer, Michael finds himself in increasing danger. Someone does not want the truth to be uncovered. At the same time, Michael finds love with Yulianna, a Ukrainian orphan who, like Emma, has witnessed the horrors of war firsthand.

Peter Golden’s Nothing is Forgotten is a globetrotting historical mystery perfect for readers interested in the Cold War, World War II, and espionage. Golden perfectly captures the ennui of an American teenager of the 1960s and his transformation into someone with a purpose. The only criticism, for this reader, was that I would have liked two different narratives: Michael’s story and Emma’s own perspective. Instead, there was a lot of telling the reader about Emma’s past, as Michael uncovers these facts, versus revealing it through her own experiences.