Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.
One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.
Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.
Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.
As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.
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AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
One day in India, a strange occurrence happens- Hemu Joshi looses his shadow. Not just for a moment, but seemingly for good. At first, he is revered as someone special, closer to the Gods. Then, he begins to forget things- important things, like his family and where he lives. Hemu is placed in a facility, but the plague of shadowlessness is spreading along with the loss of memory. People are forgetting how to read, walk, eat and sometimes breathe; however, they also have power in their forgetting. When the forgetting reaches the United States, a wedding party holes up in Elk Lodge, Max and Ory decide to stay and survive there, until Max looses her shadow; Naz, an archer is outfitted with her bow and arrows to fight whatever craziness comes. All of the survivors, shadowed and shadowless alike hear rumors of a city that still stands, New Orleans and a person there who may be able to help. The separate groups fight their way to New Orleans, but what will they remember when they get there?
A unique and engaging dystopian read that introduces a new danger into the world. The narrative switches between several points of view: Ory, Max, Naz and The One Who Gathers. Through these very different sets of eyes, we see the world slowly devolve as people loose their shadows and their memories. I was very interested in the shadow/memory connection and how it could possibly be solved. I was also amazed at how the loss of memory turned dangerous and perception mirrored reality for a shadowless- if you forget a place, it disappears, if a shadowless believes that a deer now has wings, it does. This opened up a world of endless opportunities as well as engaging questions: who are you without your memories? What is it like to live without remembering your past or what you have learned? In this world, it seems that despair and destruction reign free, but through Max and Ory's stories, we see hope and love. Ory is determined to find Max despite putting himself in danger and Max is determined to keep Ory in her memory by recording herself, but keep him safe by running away. With an unexpected and exciting ending, The Book of M is a memorable and imaginative read.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Praise for THE BOOK OF M
“A beautiful and haunting story about the power of memory and the necessity of human connection, this book is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece and the one dystopian novel you really need to read this year.” ―Bustle
“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.” ―Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World
“The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.” ―Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life
“Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.” ―David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself and Absolutely American
“A beautifully written existential apocalypse, following everyday people on a search for love, memory and meaning across the richly realized and frighteningly familiar ruins of America.” ―Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas
“Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.” ―Publishers Weekly
“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.” ―Library Journal
“Fans of Station Eleven, listen up!...This one is g-r-e-a-t.” ―Book Riot
“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).” ―Booklist
“Brilliant debut... The Book of M is right up there with Station Eleven: achingly beautiful literary novels about a changed world.” ―Refinery29.com
“Outstanding and unforgettable...The Book of M is a scary, surprising, sad and sentimental story that will be deeply felt by readers while capturing their imaginations and hearts.” ―BookPage (Top Fiction Pick)
“For fans of Station Eleven, this summer release will have you engulfed from beginning to end.” ―Popsugar
“[Shepherd’s] first novel, The Book of M, tells the fantastic story of ordinary people caught up in a catastrophe in which people lose their shadows — and their memories.” ―Arizona PBS
“Beautifully written, Peng Shepherd delivers an extraordinary story about love, hope, the unquenchable search for answers that may never come, and, ultimately, survival...The characters all have such depth to them that it’s impossible to not become invested in the story, which twists and turns often.” ―TheRealBookSpy.com
“The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.” ―TheNerdDaily.com
“It’s a great setting for a murder, and each of Rader-Day’s prickly millennials feels capable of murder—to say nothing of sleep-deprived, near hysterical Eden. Readers will have fun following the subtle clues.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Reminiscent of books like Stephen King’s The Stand, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and Michael Tolkin’s NK3... she keeps the journey interesting, makes us care about her characters, and invites us to think about how we are all the stuff of dreams.” ―Toronto Star
“The Book of M shines consistently, first in the sense of magical wonder that permeates each of its pages, and second, in the emotional depth that Shepherd is able to draw out of her characters... brutal and brilliant in equal measure.” ―The Contemporary Clerk
“Shepherd’s tale pushes the post-apocalyptic story in a new and exciting direction, making readers ponder questions about reality, self-perception and relationships.” ―Shelf Awareness
Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and has lived in Beijing, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. The Book of M is her first novel.
PHOTO CONTENT FROM PENG SHEPHERD