Monday, December 20, 2021

The Memory Collectors

  The Memory Collectors
Author:  Kim Neville
Publication Information:  Atria Books. 2021. 400 pages.
ISBN:  978-1982157586

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "The air beneath Evelyn's paper mask is hot and damp, and even though a shaft of sunlight from the open barn door reveals sawdust swirling ion the air, she pulls the mask up to her forehead and allows herself a breath of cool air."

Favorite Quote:  "Facts are only part of the truth. So much can be learned from books beyond what can be found in the words printed on the page ... It's a treasure hunt, an intricate dance through a paper maze, moving from one book to the next in search of nuggets of information, and what untold diversions might be discovered along the way. She's lost entire days in libraries, forgetting why she came in in the first place."

The start of The Memory Collectors creates the image of a dark, desolate almost steampunk-like environment. The story itself, however, is set in current day Vancouver. As the author's bio states, "most of her stories take place in real-world settings with a twist of strangeness to cast the everyday in a new light."

Ev is a young woman who has a gift that can often seem a curse. She can feel the emotions encapsulated in objects. She feels overwhelmed by a need to protect herself from those emotions and the possibility that those emotion-filled objects have the potential to destroy her. Perhaps, the story of Ev's fear lies in her  past.

Harriet is seemingly a hoarder. Like Ev, she too can feel the emotions of objects. She is older and considers all her objects to be treasures. She looks for the bright ones. Perhaps, Harriet has a story all her own behind the hoarding.

Perhaps there are others who share this gift and cope with it in their own way. Some successfully ands safely, and some not so much.

Ev is afraid of letting the objects in. Harriet is afraid of letting the objects go. Perhaps, between the two, there is a balance to be found. "Remember, the object only reflects a feeling that came from a human. It holds a story from where it came from, but it's not alive."

Ev's sister Noemi and Ev's friend Owen are the other characters that feature in the book. Although this is definitely Ev's story and the other characters are not as well developed, the individual stories of all four elicit an emotion and a reaction.

It turns out that more than a shared gift unites Ev and Harriet. Harriet is aware of their connection that lies in Ev's childhood. Ev is not. What will happen when that connection emerges? Will Ev survive it? Will Harriet?

I do know that I want to follow along and I want things to work out for both of them. The story is at times dark, at times magical, and at times family drama. This book makes me care about the characters - the sign of a good read. 

Perhaps, the thought I will carry forward with me from this book is the idea of  "bright things" - objects that hold and bring forth happy memories and create brightness in life. The book reminds us. "People matter most, Evelyn. Not things. Never forget that." Yet, objects can bring us back to people, places, and time. The book also points out. "Maybe you can't force happiness on a person. But you can build a place where a person could find happiness when they're ready for it." I know that I certainly have my share of bright things that are concrete reminders of joy.

Considering that The Memory Collectors is a debut novel, I look forward to seeing what Kim Neville writes next.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment