The Memory Police

Paperback, 274 pages

English language

Published Oct. 29, 2020 by Penguin Random House.

ISBN:
978-1-78470-044-7
Copied ISBN!
Goodreads:
49098059

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (58 reviews)

**2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

A haunting Orwellian novel about the terrors of state surveillance, from the acclaimed author of The Housekeeper and the Professor.**

On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island's inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.

When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past.

A surreal, provocative fable about the …

7 editions

Very simple prose, but still a good read.

4 stars

The story was enjoyable enough which was good since there really isn't a massive underlying story going on. You do not get any answers as to what is going on. You are literally following the MC as she is experiencing things in her life disappear and you never know anything more than what she knows.

All the characters in this book are anonymous, no names are ever given, but it felt right and did not detract from being able to follow the story at all.

There is not some big "AH-HA" moment where everything clicks. For me, it came across that in the beginning, the MC is afraid of losing her editor/friend (who does not lose his memories) after having lost her parents. But on the flip side, her friend is watching her deteriorate bit by bit as the memories are taken from her and she begins to forget how …

Scarily real

5 stars

I previously loved reading a collection of Yoko Ogawa's short stories, Revenge, so enthusiastically grabbed my copy of The Memory Police when it appeared on NetGalley. The novel was first published in Japanese twenty-five years ago and has only just been translated into English - an amazingly good job by the talented Stephen Snyder. The Memory Police is the novel that I had hoped If Cats Disappeared From The World would be - dark, mysterious, and, actual impossibility aside, scarily real.

Ogawa vividly portrays a science fiction dystopia where an island people have grown so used to abruptly being deprived of things that the loss of something more barely provokes a comment. Once deemed Disappeared, any surviving examples of an item are swiftly, voluntarily destroyed by the populace and once out of sight, these items are soon out of mind. The hatmaker retrains as an umbrella maker when hats Disappear. …

Review of 'The Memory Police' on 'Storygraph'

No rating

This is the most Orwellian book I’ve read in a while. It is an Animal Farm for our era. I would love to see this read in every classroom so that people are thinking about what it means when we are asked to pretend that something doesn’t exist; to forget uncomfortable truths; to consign certain books to the fire. This is a book that should be read by everyone. 

Review of 'The Memory Police' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

I have more complicated feelings about this than I expected to, as taken as I was with “[b:The Cafeteria in the Evening and a Pool in the Rain|46138677|The Cafeteria in the Evening and a Pool in the Rain|Yōko Ogawa|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1650388340l/46138677.SX50.jpg|1888205],” a short story of Ogawa’s published about a decade after this novel was.

The prose often felt flat to me, and I wonder whether it's because -- at the risk of sharing too much and in an odd venue -- I've spent the pandemic feeling an increasing sense of derealization. I think this novel was doing something that I didn't appreciate until too close to the end, a feeling reinforced by reading “How ‘The Memory Police’ Makes You See,” a great review by Jia Tolentino. I’m also still learning to read deeply, and may still struggle with the stylistic choice to give a narrator a diegetic voice …

Review of 'The Memory Police' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I feel like this is a beautiful and evocative book, for someone whose life experiences are rather different from mine.

It's all about loss and love and memory, grief and acceptance and other deep themes, and it treats them in lovely skillful ways. But while I have of course experienced these things, being a person and all, the ways that the book deals with them is from a subtly and perhaps mysteriously different perspective than mine. Maybe the ideal reader is a woman, or from Japan, or just has a different relationship with the world than I do, in some subtler way.

Having said that, though, I don't begrudge the time that I spent reading it, and I certainly came away with some striking new images, if not any specific insights or resolution.

Review of 'The Memory Police' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Another example of a book's premise being far more interesting than the book itself. You live on an island where you wake up one day and something from your life has just vanished. The first incident in the book involves birds, so everyone woke up and suddenly the concept of "bird" holds no meaning. You don't remember what a bird was, you don't know what a bird is, all knowledge of "bird" is removed by the Memory Police. Holding onto past concepts like birds, flowers, calendars, is forbidden, and it's considered taboo to reminisce or talk about items that have been "disappeared". As the book progresses, the disappeared items take the form of increasingly important and valuable things, and while disoriented and discomfited, the people are expected and encouraged to take it in stride and move on.

Certain people are immune to this, where they retain all memories and knowledge …

avatar for boogah

rated it

4 stars
avatar for LauraC

rated it

4 stars
avatar for I.P.Freely

rated it

4 stars
avatar for zperrault

rated it

3 stars
avatar for cent

rated it

5 stars
avatar for cent

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Elspeth

rated it

4 stars
avatar for magije

rated it

5 stars
avatar for mrkvm

rated it

5 stars
avatar for awboonstra

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Blerkotron

rated it

3 stars
avatar for mattlehrer

rated it

2 stars
avatar for xianny

rated it

4 stars
avatar for lipalipalipa

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Kaslov

rated it

5 stars
avatar for slowline

rated it

4 stars
avatar for greeny

rated it

4 stars
avatar for jbtchr

rated it

3 stars
avatar for diversario

rated it

2 stars
avatar for Emily

rated it

4 stars
avatar for ChadGayle

rated it

5 stars
avatar for pneuma

rated it

5 stars
avatar for nosmo

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Myshkin

rated it

4 stars
avatar for MrRaccoon13

rated it

5 stars
avatar for shawn

rated it

5 stars
avatar for barryfujii

rated it

5 stars
avatar for SAKs

rated it

3 stars
avatar for AllisonWyss

rated it

5 stars