* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Author: Felicia Yap
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Monos, the majority, have only one day’s worth of memory; elite Duos have two. In this stratified society, where Monos are excluded from holding high office and demanding jobs, Claire and Mark are a rare mixed marriage. Clare is a conscientious Mono housewife, Mark a novelist-turned-politician Duo on the rise. They are a shining example of a new vision of tolerance and equality—until…a beautiful woman is found dead, her body dumped in England’s River Cam. The woman is Mark’s mistress, and he is the prime suspect in her murder. The detective investigating the case has secrets of his own. So did the victim. And when both the investigator’s and the suspect’s memories are constantly erased—how can anyone learn the truth?
This is certainly one of the more interesting concepts for a world that I’ve read in a while. This society is a mirror of our own, the difference being that human beings are classified either as monos or duos. Monos can remember one day’ worth of memory and duos can remember two. This creates a stratification in society where those with more memory are perceived as more adept and look down on those with more limited memory. Among all this, a murder has taken place and it is up to the police to solve the case before they run out of time and the memories are lost. In this world where peoples memory exists within the confines of their iDiaries which they write in every day, characters remember things as they wrote it down, making it possible to forget the past so easily.
I really struggled with this book. I think the concept is promising, but I don’t think that it was executed in a believable way, making it very hard to really connect with the story. My main problem with this book is that the concept is that people only have limited memory, but within the story, characters can remember facts and can work to remember facts. They only lose more trivial details and things they don’t commit to memory. This detail really takes away from this world. The story for me was undermined the second these facts were introduced. It complicated the characters, their motives, what they “choose” to remember or forget. It made it unclear as to how characters could really choose to forget a wrongdoing and re-write the course of their pasts.
What I did like was how truly unreliable every character was. This world really creates a lack of trust between the readers and the characters and for me, that’s immensely interesting. No one knows the truth. Even in the end, we can only know for certain by trusting the one character that’s potentially the most untrustworthy of them all. This creates a complexity within this story that one doesn’t always find in a story that’s more like our own.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. I did enjoy it as I was fascinated to see how Yap would create this world and drive the plot forward when the characters memories are so short. However, there were some short comings that left me unhappy with the concept as a whole. I think for a debut, Yap’s written an intriguing narrative and I’d be interested to see where her work goes in the future.