The Memory Police

The Memory Police

3.77 (46,192 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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**SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE**

'A masterpiece' Guardian

Discover a timely mystery about the loss of every day existence by one of Japan's greatest writers that featured in the Entertainment Weekly 'Quarantine Book Club'.

Hat, ribbon, bird, rose. To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed.

When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she desperately wants to save him. For some reason, he doesn't forget, and it's becoming increasingly difficult for him to hide his memories. Who knows what will vanish next?

The Memory Police is a beautiful, haunting and provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, from one of Japan's greatest writers.

'One of Japan's most acclaimed authors explores truth, state surveillance and individual autonomy. Echoes 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and 100 Years of Solitude, but it has a voice and power all its own' Time Magazine

'A quiet dystopia of loss and confusion rather than repression, perhaps better suited for a world of misinformation and environmental degradation than the Big Brother nightmares of last century' Slate
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 29mm | 407g
  • Harvill Secker
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1846559499
  • 9781846559495
  • 72,180

Review Text

It's an age since I read a book as strange, beautiful and affecting… this haunting work reaches beyond…to examine what it is to be human… a remarkable writer
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Review quote

The Memory Police is a masterpiece: a deep pool that can be experienced as fable or allegory, warning and illumination. It is a novel that makes us see differently, opening up its ideas in inconspicuous ways, knowing that all moments of understanding and grace are fleeting. It is political and human, it makes no promises. It is a rare work of patient and courageous vision -- Madeleine Thien * Guardian * It's an age since I read a book as strange, beautiful and affecting... this haunting work reaches beyond...to examine what it is to be human... a remarkable writer * Sunday Times * Masterly...Like Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad and Mohsin Hamid's Exit West, Yoko Ogawa's novel transforms a familiar metaphor into imaginative truth. -- Jia Tolentino * The New Yorker * In a feat of dark imagination, Yoko Ogawa stages an intimate, suspenseful drama of courage and endurance while conjuring up a world that is at once recognizable and profoundly strange * Wall Street Journal * Explores questions of power, trauma and state surveillance...particularly resonant now, at a time of rising authoritarianism across the globe. * New York Times, pick of the month * The fresh take on 1984 you didn't know you needed. * Washington Post * This is a work of immense precision that is drawing on allegory, that is drawing on myth, that is drawing on dystopia and is doing that deftly. It is the work of a Japanese master who transcends her cultural context to speak to us on a level that is universal. The acclaimed Japanese writer's fifth English release is an elegantly spare dystopian fable...Reading The Memory Police is like sinking into a snowdrift: lulling yet suspenseful, it tingles with dread and incipient numbness. * New York Times Book Review * Ogawa exploits the psychological complexity of...[a] bizarre situation to impressive effect... her achievement is to weave in a far more personal sense of the destruction and distortion of the psyche * Observer * One of Japan's most acclaimed authors explores truth, state surveillance and individual autonomy. Ogawa's fable echoes the themes of George Orwell's 1984, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude, but it has a voice and power all its own. * TIME Magazine, Best Books of Summer 2019 * This timeless fable of control and loss feels more timely than ever -- Justine Jordan * Guardian, *Books of the Year* * A lovely, if bleak, meditation on faith and creativity - or faith in creativity - in a world that disavows both...The Memory Police truly feels like a portrait of today. * Wired, Book of the Month *
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About Yoko Ogawa

Yoko Ogawa has won every major Japanese literary award. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, A Public Space and Zoetrope. Her works include The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas, The Housekeeper and the Professor, Hotel Iris and Revenge.
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Rating details

46,192 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 24% (11,079)
4 41% (18,940)
3 25% (11,768)
2 7% (3,411)
1 2% (994)
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