Finalist for the International Booker Prize and the National Book Award
A haunting Orwellian novel about the terrors of state surveillance, from the acclaimed author of The Housekeeper and the Professor.
On an unnamed island, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses. . . . Most of the inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few able to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten. When a young writer discovers that her editor is in danger, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her f loorboards, and together they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past. Powerful and provocative, The Memory Police is a stunning novel about the trauma of loss.
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
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American Book Award winner
Ogawa (Revenge) returns with a dark and ambitious novel exploring memory and power both individual and institutional through a dystopian tale about state surveillance. The unnamed female narrator is an orphaned novelist living on an unnamed island that is in the process of disappearing, item by item. The disappearances, of objects such as ribbons, perfume, birds, and calendars, are manifested in a physical purge of the object as well as a psychological absence in the island's residents' memories. The mysterious and brutal Memory Police are in charge of enforcing these disappearances, randomly searching homes and arresting anyone with the ability to retain memory of the disappeared, including the narrator's mother. When the narrator discovers her editor, R, is someone who does not have the ability to forget, she builds a secret room in her house to hide him, with the help of her former nurse's husband, an old man who once lived on the ferry, which has also disappeared. Though R may not leave the room for fear of discovery, he, the narrator, and the old man are able to create a sense of home and family. However, the disappearances and the Memory Police both grow more aggressive, with more crucial things disappearing at a faster rate, and it becomes clear that it will be impossible for them their family unit, and the island as a whole to continue. The classic Ogawa hallmarks are here, a dark eroticism and idiosyncratic characters, but it's also clear she's expanded her range into something even deeper. This is a searing, vividly imagined novel by a wildly talented writer.
What was so good...
SEMI SPOILER ALERT
This was a 5-star book for 96% of the story. The meta ending turned me off so violently it gets significantly dinged. I felt like I was reading a true classic then all of a sudden it goes RL Stine on me.
A beautifully written book that I want badly to recommend to others so much but can’t because I don’t want them to experience its one huge flaw. Gotta keep my recommendation cred intact.
This book was simply beautiful in its style and mind blowing scenes it conjured up in my imagination. I loved the dream like element of it the most .