The Memory Palace

A Book of Lost Interiors

Edward Hollis

Published: 4 September 2014
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 368 pages
ISBN: 9781846273261


The rooms we live in are always more than just four walls. As we decorate these spaces and fill them with objects and friends, they shape our lives and become the backdrop to our sense of self. One day, the houses will be gone, but even then, traces of the stories and the memories they contained will remain. In this dazzling work of imaginative re-construction, Edward Hollis takes us to the sites of five great spaces now lost to history and pieces together the fragments he finds there to re-create their vanished chambers. From Rome's Palatine to the old Palace of Westminster and the Petit Trianon at Versailles, and from the sets of the MGM studios in Hollywood to the pavilions of the Crystal Palace and his own grandmother's sitting room, The Memory Palace is a glittering treasure trove of luminous forgotten places and the people who, for a short time, made them their home.

About the author

Image of Edward Hollis

Born in London in 1971, Edward Hollis studied Architecture at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh before joining a practice, working first on ruins and follies in the coastal lagoons of Sri Lanka and then on Victorian villas, old breweries and town halls in Scotland. He now teaches Interior Design at Edinburgh College of Art. The Secret Lives of Buildings was his first book. More about the author


‘[A] wonderful fusion of physical and metaphysical descriptions whose combinations of distinct facts and elegantly wrought fictions are hypnotic... Brilliant’ Jay Merrick



[A] cabinet of curiosities, in which the historical and imaginary, the personal and philosophical, are interweaved. A kaleidoscopic journey’ Eimear McKeith

‘A book to lose yourself in... You might pick up some history but you'll keep reading for pure pleasure’

‘A brilliant follow-up to The Secret Lives of BuildingsSimon Armstrong

‘A literary cabinet of curiosities... With a poet's sensibility and a historian's delight, Hollis elegantly uncovers how we use objects and space to define ourselves through memory’ James McConnachie

‘A meticulous and often surprisingly touching history’ Lesley McDowell

‘Ambitious... This book makes you think anew about how the way we arrange our rooms reflects our inner lives’ David Evans

‘As if walking through a vivid dream... the book builds up a thorough construction examining the rooms around us as a sort of manifested tableau of memory’

‘Hollis is a refreshing thinker. He reaches beyond aesthetics and into more unusual territory’ Thomas Marks

‘Intriguing... A quasi-sequel to The Secret Lives of Buildings [and] an idiosyncratic approach [which] unearths rich pickings’ Emma Hagestadt


‘Rich and poetic, this is the kind of non-fiction that makes fiction seem predictable, thin and uncurious’ Stuart Kelly

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