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MEM Paperback – March 19, 2019

4.3 out of 5 stars 100 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"With her dizzying concept, richly imagined narrator, ornate setting, and first-rate storytelling, Morrow offers an epiphany for readers of speculative fiction with echoes of ideas explored in films like Blade Runner and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The defiant story of an impossible enigma who only yearns to be a real girl." —Kirkus Reviews

"Morrow’s debut is ambitious and insightful, raising questions about memory, trauma, and humanity. The novel is at its best when it presents Elsie at her most human, forcing the real ones around her to reckon with what her personhood means for theirs." —
Publishers Weekly

MEM is a haunting instant classic of the Flowers for Algernon ilk; spare, beautiful, and intensely powerful. This book was unputdownable.” ―BookRiot

MEM is an unusual first novel set in an alternate past that brings a powerful vision to bear on the horrors (and opportunities) of trying to establish your own identity in a world that makes no space for you… Morrow drives her premise to a memorable conclusion about who shapes whom in the endless laboratory experiment of being alive.” –Los Angeles Times

MEM is a short, satisfying work made poignant by Elsie’s voice… Elsie holds up a mirror to her human counterparts, and the reader as well.” –The Washington Post

“A new classic, an extraordinary work of careful craftsmanship and intense compression. Bethany C. Morrow has written a jewel of a book: a tiny object refracting light in all directions.” –
Locus Magazine


"An extraordinary and utterly compelling novel that deftly explores questions of memory, identity, and humanity while also introducing one of my favourite characters in a long time. I loved everything about MEM." ―Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“The moment I opened Bethany C. Morrow’s thrilling and unsettling
MEM, I could not stop turning the pages. Dolores Extract #1―a "Mem"―defies the rules of her world in a harrowing quest for autonomy and understanding. Her journey generates a deeply powerful inquiry into memory, trauma, ownership, and freedom―into the very essence of what it means to be human. This gorgeously written novel is one of the most enthralling and original debuts I’ve read in years.” ―Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me
"In the world of Bethany C. Morrow's imaginative and gloriously written first novel,
MEM, a memory might have a life of her own. This novel imagines an alternate past where memories can be extracted and turned to flesh, a premise that unfolds with intrigue and wisdom from this writer's fertile imagination. Don't miss this exciting debut that will change the way you think about memories." ―Tananarive Due, American Book Award and British Fantasy Award winner
“MEM is a mind bending exploration of what it means to be human. In this tight, gripping novel doctors have the ability to extract people's traumatic memories. These memories become people, sort of... Or maybe not. And what happens to the people who abuse the procedure? How do our memories shape our lives? MEM is a great read, especially for those interested in the ethics and strange reality of how new technologies impact the human condition.” -Chris Morrow, Northshire Bookstore (Manchester Center, VT) “Staged in an alternate possibility of the last century, MEM is the story of what could happen if we found a way to remove our bad memories and store them in a surrogate. Of course these surrogates would be kept in a vault and only brought out for special occasions, maybe to impress your friends at a cocktail party. But what if one of them – let’s call her Dolores Extract #1 – did not conform to the “rules” of the process. What if instead of only having one memory to live out over and over and over again, like a bad dream, waiting to waste away to nothing and then die, she was discovered to be able to make her own new memories. What then? Well, she might be removed from the vault and allowed to live a life, of sorts, under the watchful eye of the program’s staff. This is a searing tale of consequences. Of unexpected results to a science some might think has gone off the rails. But it’s also an insightful look into what makes us who we are and what happens when we can dispose of parts of ourselves we no longer want around to haunt us. I guarantee this is a book that will dig its way into your own memories and may well keep you up at night with thoughts you just can’t turn off. What a page-turner!” -Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane, WA)

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ The Unnamed Press; Reprint edition (March 19, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 188 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1944700862
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1944700867
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 6.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 100 ratings

About the author

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Bethany C Morrow is an author of speculative literary fiction, and a recovering expatriate. A California native, she has lived in Bangor (Wales, UK), Montreal (Quebec, Canada), and now resides just over the border in the US northeast.

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
100 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars I devoured this beautiful novel
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2019
Speculative science fiction about identity and memory set in Jazz Age Montreal. What’s not to love? I’m fascinated by memory, by how we remember, how memory is intimately connected to all our senses, how the act of remembering itself alters our memories, and I devoured this beautiful novel.
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Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2021

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5.0 out of 5 stars If you want a book to make you think, this is the book for you!
Reviewed in Canada on June 22, 2018
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