YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
YOU CAN PRESERVE A HANDFUL OF SPECIAL MEMORIES FOREVER.
WHICH ONES WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity reliving your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.
Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal – and married – clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.
But when Jarek’s wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds…
The Memory Chamber is a thrilling and original story which vaults the reader into a world that is terrifyingly close to our own, where we can avoid everything we fear – even death itself. But can we ever escape the truth?
Published 22nd February 2018 by Quercus (UK)
Oh. My. God did I love this book or what? The Memory Chamber is exactly my kind of dystopia/speculative fiction which I rarely come across or get a chance to pick up these days. Ones with glimpses into a not so distant future, where the sinister comes from what starts out as a way of making life (or in this case, death) better. The ones that make you think, and the ones that seem not so far fetched after all.
Isobel is a heaven architect – her job involves creating heavens for people when they die in a kind of augmented reality. The process is achieved through the extraction of memory neurons soon after death. It’s Isobel’s job to work with clients to plan their heaven before they die, picking and choosing their favourite memories to live and relive for all eternity.
I’m sure I caught something briefly on the news or some other program recently along similar lines – about the increasing possibility of preserving memories or personalities after death. Now, the science of the whole thing admittedly goes right over my head, but The Memory Chamber as a concept seemed to me highly plausible. I had no difficulty believing that we as humans would go down a path of selling ‘heavens’ after death if the technology was there to make them. While it’s set in a future where technology has advanced, the book isn’t so far away or all that much more different from our own world to be alienating. There are hints at treatments and medicines we don’t yet have access to, driverless cars and superior communication devices but in all honesty, the overall setting is familiar. I found it so credible, and so chilling!
There’s a thriller element to this book, which I found gripping. It stands out not only due to the original concept used to solve it, but the high emotional involvement this book triggered in me. As Isobel is put in an impossible position, I felt I was riding the tide of fear, loyalty, disbelief and betrayal along with her as everything she believes in crumbles around her and she faces both personal and professional ethical dilemmas.
Right from the very start, The Memory Chamber had me hooked. Holly Cave’s writing is beautiful, almost spellbinding as she builds Isobel’s world so convincingly. I struggled to put it down, and when I did, I was thinking about it and eager to get back as soon as possible. An evocatively imagined near future with a sinister and chilling twist, I recommend this book thoroughly!
(I read an advance proof courtesy of the publisher)