All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost is not a book lost in a title's paradox. It is the opening salvo in a war of letters - a book that needed to be penned, asking the questions about what makes a writer write, can art be taught and what is the standard by which we call a written work good?

Yes, it may look like an oxymoron, this "All forgotten, nothing lost" - but that's looking at it from the perspective of human memory and not from the writing itself. Once committed to paper that memory becomes a fossil for archaeologists - the reader - to unearth and to judge relative worth, one person at a time. Chang guides us through this theme via the characters of Roman Morris and Bernard Sauvet, two poets that travel very different paths in their lifelong endeavors to create worthwhile art. The author points to all of the signposts along the way to make the reader ask: Does commercial success equate to art? What about the enduring relationship between the potter and the clay - and why are humans so interested in the person responsible for the work of art?

Must anyone read a poem, a manuscript for it to be considered beautiful, considered art? There's this lovely scene in the middle of the book where Roman looks to comfort from his wife Lucy and she tells him, "You will forget what you forget, whether you impress it upon your memory or not." Because this is all going away at some point whether we want it to or not. We won't be able to hold it for all time, but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen, it wasn't beautiful or that it is lost.


Brian Dice is a lover of stories, short and long. His first collection of stories, Blue Ice, was published in 2011. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, daughter and siamese cat, and if you happen to meet him while you are there, pull up a chair and regale him with your tale.