Book Review #5: The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa (2019)

Title: The Memory Police
Author: Yōko Ogawa (Translated by Stephen Snyder)
Published: 2019 (Pantheon Books, originally published in 1994 by Kodansha)
Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction, Dystopian, Orwellian

Two reviews in one day, because I’m trying to play catch-up!

I read this one a few weeks ago, and it was haunting from beginning to end. Ogawa tells a harrowing tale of an unnamed island sometime in the future where the citizens are slowly losing things, from ideas to tangible objects. The so called ‘Memory Police’ are responsible for these disappearances, but there is no explanation of their origin or when they began. The novel focuses on its narrator, an orphaned female author and her viewpoint of these disappearances as a citizen of the island.

Overall, extremely worth the read. As daunting as the progression may seem, the story gives light to the humanity of our memories and how valuable they are to the future. Ogawa tells this tale in a gentle and dream-like manner, which left me captivated.

If you’re interested in dystopian novels, this is a must read. I give this a 4 out of 5.


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