Stefan Merrill Block is a talent. Though his debut novel, The Story of Forgetting, sings a bit from the Jonathan Safran Foer hymnal (a precocious teen trying to unravel his family’s tragic history), the Plano native distinguishes himself with inventive plotting and an urbane Texas voice. High Plains settler Millicent Haggard bequeaths her unfortunate descendants the fictional EOA-23 strain of Alzheimer’s, as well as a series of fables about Isidora, a fanciful land where there is no such thing as memory. Tales of this otherworld become a familial coping mechanism to deal with the disease’s early onset—especially the myth that afflicted loved ones who find their way to Isidora are at peace, having forgotten every bad thing in their lives. Block wraps his intricate story line around Abel Haggard, a 68-year-old farmer outside Dallas whose brother had EOA-23, and Seth Waller, a 15-year-old Austin high schooler who decides that determination and research will lead him to a cure for his mother’s Alzheimer’s. Block can write big: By tracing the Haggard-Waller lineage through generations, he gives his narrative scope and power. But it’s the intimate moments—husbands, wives, sons, and daughters devastated by the effects of Alzheimer’s—that make The Story of Forgetting, well, unforgettable. Random House, $24.95