FICTION

The Book of M.

The Book of M. Morrow.Jun. 2018. 496p. ISBN 9780062669605. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062669629. F
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The forgetting begins when Hemu Joshi loses his shadow in India. Then a boy in Brazil. Shadows disappear from all of Panama seemingly at once. Scientists attempt to learn about the new condition when they match Hemu with an American man with complete memory loss. The symptoms start small, then it's big things, such as forgetting the names of family members, how to speak, and eventually, oneself. After Boston is ravaged by the phenomenon, Naz finds solace in a newly abandoned building; on their mother's orders, Rojan travels from Tehran to find Naz. Together, the siblings flee. Ory and his wife, Max, have been hiding from the plague in the woods for two years when Max's shadow disappears and she runs away. Ory then ventures into the wilderness to find her. Rumors are written on signs and buildings and circle through traveler groups: "The One Who Gathers" is in New Orleans, bad things happen in DC, and don't go near the water.
VERDICT First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory's impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]

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