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Summary

MEM is a rare novel, a small book carrying very big ideas, the kind of story that stays with you long after you've finished listening to it. Set in the glittering art deco world of a century ago, MEM makes one slight alteration to history: a scientist in Montreal discovers a method allowing people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete. 

The Mems exist as mirror-images of their source-zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over, until they expire in the cavernous Vault where they are kept. And then there is Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem capable of creating her own memories. An ageless beauty shrouded in mystery, she is allowed to live on her own, and create her own existence, until one day she is summoned back to the Vault. What happens next is a gorgeously rendered, heart-breaking novel in the vein of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.

Debut novelist Bethany Morrow has created an allegory for our own time, exploring profound questions of ownership and how they relate to identity, memory, and history, all in the shadows of Montreal's now forgotten slave trade.

©2018 Bethany C. Morrow (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about MEM

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Meh. Bad narration.

The story was okay but the hopeless narration was a struggle to get through. Very one note and dull.

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Unfortunately really boring

Such a cool concept, so wasted. Almost nothing happens in this book. The narration is so lackluster. The main character so whiny, I kept rolling my eyes. I struggled to finish it despite it being so short.

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Wow! I loved that!

The combination of narrator Soneela Nankani whose voice still haunts me (in a wonderful way) and such a touching simple character-driven story….just really made this audible one of the most enjoyable I have had so far. I am an avid reader but I will remember both the audio and character « voice » as it reminds you of Ishiguro but is less depressing which makes it perfect for me! Thank you for such a gift.

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I'll listen again and again to this book!

Reminiscent of 'Never Let Me Go', poignant, sensitive, beautiful. Well written, narrated-recommending for bookclub.

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  • Darren Fleischer
  • 04-01-19

Some may like this

I like sci fi, and the premise sounds intriguing. I’m just not too much into romance in my sci fi novels, so I gave it 3 stars. Others may give it 5 if they like that kind of stuff.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 28-11-20

Pleasantly Surprised

A slower, almost peaceful reading--I like slow, but I felt the character deserved a wider range of emotions. Still, this is the best "clone" type story I've read and liked the twist of why there are clones of people. The ending was fulfilling without feeling too perfect.

3 people found this helpful

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  • EM
  • 16-07-21

Interesting but missing something

This story is intriguing but it never reaches the point where it is hard to put down. The protagonist is so passive, despite all that happens to her. Or perhaps that it is: things happen to her and she has no agency. Or does not use it. That may be a key character trait, but it does not make for a riveting read.

I enjoyed the City of Brass trilogy more than any series save Broken Earth, in no small part b/c of Soneela Nankani’s narration. But it is soporific in tone and pace, and the text does not help. Together the create a rather lifeless dull character.

I listened to the end b/c I wanted to know how it ends. And it is worth it because it was free. But I hope for more from both Morrow and Nankani next time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • AnonymousO
  • 11-05-21

A story of love, loss, and hope

Such an intriguing concept beautifully written - a sad, yet wonderfully hopeful tale.

The audiobook, read by Soneela Nankani, really does this story justice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Moxie
  • 20-03-21

Wonderful

A very intelligent novella, deals with philosophical and ethical issues without being overbearing. I didn't love the romantic sub plot, otherwise would probably rate it higher.

1 person found this helpful

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  • N. Brown
  • 26-04-22

Excellent

This is a great story concept that had me thinking all the way through it. The narrator does an excellent job of conveying the character's feelings.

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  • Sea Wench
  • 21-03-22

Keep an eye on this author

Well written and really unique. I read it once and then listened… Kind of a slow burn—just the way I like it!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-22

Great story, great performance

An interesting and thought-provoking concept expands into a new story about life, memory, and personhood. In addition to an intriguing storyline, the performance by the reader is one of the best I’ve ever heard.

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  • eae
  • 26-02-22

What I wanted "Klara and the Sun" to be.

I am stingy with 5 stars, but this novel deserves every one. It is set in Montreal of the 1920's and '30's and a technology exists in which memories can be extracted. These memories, referred to as mems, "live" for a time independent of, but the legal property of, their source. One of these mems is unique - in ways best left to the reader to discover - but it is she who tells the tale. I came to care deeply about Elsie, and every other richly drawn character in this novel. Each and every one is multilayered and provides their own insights and perspective. Think of each as a piece of cellophane onto which a portion of a picture has been drawn. With each page you get a bit better idea of what you are looking at, but it is not until they are all in place that you have a full picture. And what a picture it is.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-02-22

Some Good Ideas, Weird Setting, Weird Romance Plot

Interesting ideas about memory and whether they could be "extracted", however setting this speculative fiction in a 1920s alternate reality detracts from the plot. It seems overwhelmingly unlikely that 10920s technology would develop the technology described in the book, whereas current or future technology could potentially do it. The other themes would in no way be harmed if tje book were set in modern times. It almost seemed as though the author just had a tomantic attachment to the '20s. Likewise, the romantic plot was a little too much like a tragic unrequited romance novel, with the unrequited part being seemingly needless, just to create drama. The book was entertaining, but switched from science fiction to "women's literature" at some point. This partially wrecked it for me, since I'm not a fan of women's literature, sentimental fiction, or anything from some female celebrity's soppy book club.