Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Review: The Memory Police

The Memory Police The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is on the shortlist for the International Booker Prize. The original novel was published in Japanese in 1994, so I struggled a bit with the idea that all the more contemporary novels were overlooked for this, but I can see that it is pretty standout.

On the Booker page for this novel the translator talks about the resonance of this book specifically in America specifically this year, with a government leaning closer and closer to dictatorship and asking it's citizens to believe things that "simply aren't true." I can see that. Still, the book has a surreal quality that allows the people on the island to just let things happen to them and that in itself is a puzzle - and how does the government make it happen? I can see them using their power to make people go along with something but even a dog wakes up to a leg that disappeared.... (I understand it is allegory, metaphor, fable but still these things are not explained.) I also was not sure why the unnamed narrator builds a place to hide her editor, one person who doesn't forget when he is supposed to. All along she is writing a novel along similar themes but the disappearance of things causes major problems as you can imagine.

This is also a read for Women in Translation Month. I imagine this was a challenge because the language is floaty and so much is passive...

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting the Reading Envy blog and podcast. Word verification has become necessary because of spam.