- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow (June 5, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780062669605
- ISBN-13: 978-0062669605
- ASIN: 0062669605
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 156 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of M: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 5, 2018
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An Amazon Best Book of June 2018: What if your shadow inexplicably held memories? And what if, one day, shadows began to disappear? So begins Peng Shepherd’s fascinating debut novel, The Book of M, that explores memory, loss, and a very human apocalypse. One day in a busy Indian market a man’s shadow disappears, and with it his memories begin to unravel. Soon, the affliction spreads across the world, as more and more people slowly lose their memories—and with them their ability to reason. We see this catastrophe unfold through the eyes of Ory and his girlfriend, Max, who have gone into hiding in an abandoned hotel. When Max loses her shadow and disappears into the forest, Ory pursues her and heads south, hoping to find Max before she forgets him. What follows is a spellbinding narrative about love and loss in a nascent world that defies genre and expectations. —Alison Walker
“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)
“Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.” (Publishers Weekly)
“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)
“This is an apocalyptic thriller with heart... The Book of M is devastating and inventive as Shepherd examines the value of memory, packing in imaginative twists as she goes.” (USA Today)
“It is an incredible concept, and she is a brilliant, brilliant new fiction writer. This is someone who you’re eventually going to have on this couch—she’s that good.” (Brad Thor, The Today Show)
“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)
“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)
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The Book of M is hard to put down. Peng Shepard's writing and storytelling style is captivating and encompassing. Some of the chapters are very short, and I kept finding myself saying "I'll read one more and then I'll go to sleep," again and again until I was deep into the night. The dedication of the characters in the story stem from Shepard's dedication to tell a story worth reading.
The novel is peppered with magical realism that would make Haruki Murakami proud, fantasy that Neil Gaiman would enjoy, and on a solid foundation of storytelling that Peng Shepard proudly owns herself.
But - the rules for engaging the world change. There is no consistency in how magic works. There is also no satisfying final explanation of all the mysterious happenings. There is also no satisfying conclusion for the most empathized-with characters. All the threads are suddenly severed with a catch-all surprise twist that feels inconsistent with the implied/foreshadowed promises about the kind of world the characters live in and the hoped-for reconciliation most of the book led up to.
So, I loved some scenes. But days after finishing, I don’t know what the book was about. I have no meaningful takeaway. I have no satisfaction of the characters’ stories being thoroughly extracted.
It’s as though the writer gets bored, or writes her way into a corner, so the story just ends.
Still, many redemptive qualities and quite entertaining and fun. Better than most of what’s out there. But if I forgot I already read it, I’d hope my forgetful self would skip it for something else.
The premise behind this had me hooked from the start. Such an original and clever concept that had me champing at the bit to find out how it would all play out...
...until about half way through when it became more of a traditional post apocalyptic story with warring factions etc... At this stage I was beginning to tire as it seemed to stray from what made it so enjoyable to me. This was also a very long read so it felt at the time that these sections were unnecessary filler...
...until later in the book when you realise that this section is actually essential to the final outcome in what becomes a very circular tale.
The ending is as beautiful as it is tragic, and made me forgive the middle section of the book.
This one will stay with me for some time.
A fantastic debut.
The premise to this book is very interesting and I was very much drawn to it, but for me it boils down to poor execution. Please note, I WANTED to like this book. Post apocalyptic stories are some of my favorites. But this one always rubbed me wrong and never got off the ground for me. I don’t even care how it ends at this point, I can’t force myself to read any more.