Wang Zhousheng's award-winning novel, while focusing on a middle-class family in near contemporary Shanghai, deals with themes that transcend time and place: family relationships and growing old.
Retired nurse Ling Deqing is astonished one day to find her long divorced 80-year-old husband, Xiao Zichen, standing on the doorstep. Following the death of his second wife, he has found his way back to his first home in a fit of absent-mindedness, a sign of the onset of dementia. Reluctant at first, Ling Deqing eventually takes him back to ease the burden on her daughter, Xiao Ying.
In Memory and Oblivion, the larger world disappears into the day-to-day problems of caring for a person with Alzheimer's. But within those problems, Ling Deqing discovers the beauty of family relationships, brought into sharp clarity against the backdrop of oblivion caused by Alzheimer's.