Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Memory Collectors - Kim Neville

From Atria Books: "Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives."

Ev makes her living dumpster diving. She sells her wares at a night market in Vancouver. But she is particular about what she touches and sells. You see, she can feel the emotion attached to a found object. She has labeled those objects as 'stained'. Harriet also collects found items - she's older and has been at it for many years. And yes, the term hoarder could be used with Harriet. She too can feel the emotions, but refers to her objects as treasures. It seems inevitable that the two will meet.

I must admit to (clears throat) having collected a few treasures of my own. I am fascinated with found bits and pieces. Who loved this object? What were they like? Was the item lost or discarded? But I love the pieces I have inherited from my grandmothers. The idea of being able to feel the history - memories and emotions - was thought provoking. 

In The Memory Collectors, emotions can be felt, but not recognized by those who pick them up. Now, not every emotion is a positive one, is it?  As the book progresses, Ev and Harriet's 'powers' change, strengthen and become more than a little frightening.

The Memory Collectors is told through two points of view - Ev and Harriet. We slowly come to know more about their pasts. And how it might be influencing and changing the present. There are two supporting players - Owen, a friend of Ev's that is calm, thoughtful and caring. Loved him. And then there's Ev's sister Noemi - I have to say that I heartily disliked her. But she is the perfect antagonist. It is Noemi that awakens the past and sends all four lives into a...a battle I would say.

The Memory Collectors was an interesting, unique mixture of magical realism, suspense, family dynamics, emotions and how the past shapes the present. I'm not one hundred percent sold on the epilogue, but it fits.

Neville is a talented writer and this was an impressive debut. PS - That cover is gorgeous.

And I leave you with this quote: "Retail stores disturb her, rows and rows of empty objects. Products with no soul, no energy, people buying and discarding them before they have the chance to take on any kind of life, the world growing more cluttered and at the same time more barren every day."


Ethan said...

This is such an interesting concept!

Luanne said...

It really was Ethan - I found myself thinking about the memories attached to some of my 'things'.