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The Book of M
Cover of The Book of M
The Book of M
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In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. As rolling twenty-four-hour news coverage tries to explain the event, more cases are discovered. The phenomenon spreads like a plague as people learn the true cost of their lost part: their memories. Two years later, Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting’ by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods in Virgina. They have settled into their new reality, until Max, too, loses her shadow. Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up what little time they have left before she loses her memory completely, and desperately follows her trail.
In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. As rolling twenty-four-hour news coverage tries to explain the event, more cases are discovered. The phenomenon spreads like a plague as people learn the true cost of their lost part: their memories. Two years later, Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting’ by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods in Virgina. They have settled into their new reality, until Max, too, loses her shadow. Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up what little time they have left before she loses her memory completely, and desperately follows her trail.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 2, 2018
    An apocalyptic future in which an epidemic dubbed the Forgetting robs large swaths of the world’s population of their shadows and memories—causing them to work dangerous magic—sets the scene for Shepherd’s exciting debut. Husband and wife Ory and Max have been holed up in an abandoned hotel outside Arlington, Va., for two years, living hand-to-mouth off beef jerky and scavenged goods, and hiding from the predatory world outside, where the shadowless wreak havoc and misremember the old world into a new one (in one instance, a shadowless forgets what a house looks like; it is rebuilt with its roof on the floor). Then Max’s shadow disappears. The couple devises protective rules, and Ory gives Max a tape recorder to document her memories. But when Max escapes, Ory sets out on a terrifying journey to find her. He is beset by enraged shadowless with electric guts; joins a book-collecting, shadowed army; and meets archer Mahnaz, who has a fascinating backstory of her own. Ory and Max separately gather stray rumors of a mythologized figure chasing a cure for shadowlessness in New Orleans, though it’s uncertain whether they’ll reach the city without dying. Though its characters sometimes slide into tropes, Shepard’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.

  • AudioFile Magazine With no warning, people around the world start losing their shadows. At first, this phenomenon is fascinating, but then the awful truth emerges: Once people lose their shadows, all of their memories--their entire selves--vanish, too. James Fouhey and Emily Woo Zeller narrate the story of Ory and Max's fight to survive in the aftermath of the forgetting epidemic. Fouhey's gravelly, measured voice captures Ory's grim resolve and perfectly conveys the stark, brutal world of Shepherd's imagined landscape. Zeller's depiction of Max, a woman helplessly sliding into oblivion, is chilling. Her narration of the desolation and heartbreak of this broken land is piercing and real. This haunting story, narrated with devastating clarity, is unsettling, thought-provoking, and utterly compelling. S.A.H. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
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The Book of M
Peng Shepherd
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