Yōko Ogawa: 密やかな結晶 (The Memory Police)

The latest addition to my website is Yōko Ogawa‘s 密やかな結晶 (The Memory Police). The novel is set on a remote island in an unnamed country. The narrator is an unnamed female novelist. The basic theme is that gradually things are disappearing. The Memory Police declare that a thing no longer exists – stamps, jewels, rose bushes -the list continues to grow – and people get rid of them and then forget they ever existed. However some people do not forget and, if found out, are taken away by the Memory Police. Many of them are hidden away in safe houses but are often found. As R, the narrator’s editor, does not forget, she hides him in her house. But gradually more things are disappeared – novels (which are burned – Men who start by burning books end by burning other men – and then even body parts which are not removed but people forget that they have them. This is an excellent dystopian novel about oppression to which the victims are seemingly willing participants.

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