Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Name is Memory: A Review

My Name is Memory is a love story unlike any I have ever known.  Ann Brashares unravels her tale a bit at a time and toys with her audience much like a cat bats a ball of yarn.  We are tossed to and fro throughout the ages clinging to the memories of Daniel -- a soul who is both blessed and cursed with the incredbile ability to remember all of his many lives as he is reincarnated over centuries.

Daniel's stories pull us into the ancient worlds of Northern Africa and Crete, to the not-so-distant past of war-torn England during the first world war, and finally into the modern east coast of the US.  His accounts are tethered by the same forces that have always driven the human race:  love and vengeance.

In each of his lives Daniel strives to find Sophia, his first love and original sin.  By turn of fate, he succeeds in finding her many times over the long years only to lose her to some uncompromising circumstance.  Once she is his brother's wife, another time she is old enough to be his grandmother, but always she is oblivious to their deep history.  Apart from these obstacles, Daniel is also pursued by Joaquim, a corrupt soul seeking twisted retribution for old offenses.

Brashares entangles her audience so well that by the end of her novel the world appears changed.  Her splendidly planned tale leaves us with the vivid and heavy impression that what goes around comes around, and not always in our favor.  I am thrilled to have found this novel that is truly new:  completely unlike anything I have ever read.  Her words are placed beautifully and with care.  Her characters are made not only of paper and ink, but of flesh and blood.  Brashares' second break from young adult fiction is blessedly actually written for adults.  With the language and finesse of a master storyteller, and an imaginitive, intellectually stimulating plot, this novel is one to place among your most treasured.

Excerpt:

[both images via Ann Brashares' website]

9 comments:

  1. I am heading over to Borders right now to buy this and take it home to start immediately. It sounds absolutely fantastic!

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  2. It is totally worth the hardcover price. I considered waiting for paperback, and I am SO glad I didn't. Enjoy! :)

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  3. I think you may also enjoy a book called the Gargoyle as well. It's along the same lines as this, although darker.

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  4. Kim, is it the one by Andrew Davidson? I'm getting a lot of search results... (Thanks for the suggestion!)

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  5. Thanks for the review. I am always looking for a good book to read. Keep em' coming!

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  6. That sounds SO good! I really like Ann Brashares and this is another book of hers I'll bet I'll like. Thanks for the review!

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  7. I really can't say enough good things about this one. It's the only book I've ever read cover-to-cover, almost without stopping, all in one day. The same day I bought it.

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  8. i've never read anything from her before, but this sounds really good! i'm off to amazon.

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  9. Carrie, this sounds exactly like the kind of fiction I enjoy - and the words look delicious! I am going to give it a read ... although I think I may have to wait for the paperback. Hope you are well my dear! : )

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