NPR

Quiet, Surreal Drama — And Disappearing Objects — In 'The Memory Police'

Yoko Ogawa's novel takes place on a small island were objects — flowers, photographs, boats — are disappearing, and the mysterious "memory police" work to make sure they're eternally forgotten.
Source: Pantheon

On a small island, objects disappear — perfume, boats, roses, photographs — and the memory police monitor the inhabitants, ensuring these things will be eternally forgotten. It seems like a metaphor for state surveillance; if were an American novel, it might yield a contrarian hero determined to fight off the tyranny of the police. It would be something akin to or the movie version of. One can even envision a high-paid Hollywood actor starring in the Netflix adaptation: They're coming for your memories, but she's got a plan to stop them!

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
'Red At The Bone' Cuts Close To The Bone
Jacqueline Woodson's exquisitely wrought new novel follows two black families of different classes whose lives become intertwined when their only children conceive a child together in their teens.
NPR3 min read
Banjo Player, Folklorist, Photographer and Filmmaker John Cohen Has Died
A member of the New Lost City Ramblers, Cohen celebrated American roots culture in many mediums, including his celebrated photography. He died Monday at age 87.
NPR4 min read
'The Undying' Catalogs The Unceasing Losses Of A Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Arriving the year before an election that could set healthcare and disability policy for decades, Anne Boyer's memoir warns us of the human costs of any system that prioritizes profit over lives.