Book Buzzed Top of July 2018 in Fiction
Peng Shepherd’s The Book of M is about a time when your shadows are more than just some phenomenon caused due to light. In ‘The Book of M’, shadows are a man’s guardian that safeguards their memories, happy or sad. In a way, they are what makes a man an emotional and social being. So, when people start losing their shadows one after the other like dominos falling, it becomes a threat to the planet. What follows is an apocalyptic dystopia that will be etched in the memories of the readers forever.
Told from the perspective of four different characters – Ory, a man whose wife lost her shadow,, Max his wife, who is in the process of losing the memories now that her shadow is stolen, an amnesiac who has suffered from memory loss and understands it and Mahnaz, an archer who is away from his family in Boston. Max & Ory try to record their conversations to protect Max from losing her lucid memory. However, Ory returns to find her gone one day and we see him looking for her as he accepts he can’t forget her. Through the segments of the story including Max and Ori, Shepherd shows the power that memories carry.
Intricately weaving the stories of these four characters together, Peng Shepherd gives us a dystopian thriller that stays on the mind long after finishing. The sense of urgency and the fear of the inevitable keeps the plot from getting loose. Peng has picked up subjects that have long played with the human psychology- shadows and memories. While the formation of shadows has been explained well scientifically, there is an element of spookiness and suspense related to them that is introduced to most people in childhood. On the contrary, memories have been considered nothing but a bond of emotion with moments gone, a human habit of desiring what’s gone. The Book of M presents the importance these memories hold not only for the individual but also for humanity and the world.
Full of thrilling surprises and elements of horror, The Book of M is an emotional rollercoaster set in apocalyptic times – a rare but pleasurable combination. Hitting the shelves this July 5th, this book needs to be on your radar.
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