Book Review: The Memory Police Yōko Ogawa

I first heard about The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa several months ago and have obsessed over the plot ever since. I purchased the book several weeks ago and finally got around to finishing it a few days ago (I am a very slow reader). For those of you who have never heard of this book, here, as written on Goodreads, is a brief synopsis of the book.

“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 power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.”

Now, here are some thoughts I had after completing it.

Book cover of The Memory Police.

As mentioned, I had been interested in the plot of this novel for months, and while I am still drawn to the concept my first initial thought after finishing the book is that it was not executed well. In my opinion, the book starts off strong with lots of enthusiasm and action, however, the last fifth of the book really seems to trail off into nothing.

Although, considering the plot, perhaps this is what Ogawa was trying to achieve.

On the other hand, despite the main character never being deliberately named I still found myself attached to her story. I was always itching to learn if the Memory Police would discover her secret, or how she would react and adjust to the latest disappearance.

All in all, I thought The Memory Police was a good book I just wish the plot was executed a bit better towards the end.

Overall rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: The thoughts an opinions expressed in this blog post are just that – my own thoughts and opinions. 

Book cover is courtesy of Goodreads.


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