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My Memories of a Future Life Paperback – September 18, 2011
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
'As a bookseller I have to read 100s of books. Rarely do I read books more than once for pleasure - this book is one of them... Roz's books .. are so good that I just leave copies on the counter, talk about them a bit and let them sell themselves.' Peter Snell, Barton's Bookshop, Leatherhead, Surrey
'A strange and stubborn book, visual and visceral, original and odd... will stay with you long after finishing its final pages' - For Books' Sake
'Classy, stylish writing, a profound tale in page-turning fashion. Unreservedly recommended.' John Whitbourn, Victor Gollancz award winner.
'I was seriously impressed by a writer of such skill and confidence. She dances between plausible reality and the shadowy realm of interpretation, underpinned by evident intelligence. A real corker, in fact.' Jill Marsh, Words With Jam
'Fine writing, skilled storytelling, excellent pacing, twists, turns, and a story that both entertains and informs. What a welcome relief spending time under the spell of such a skilled artist. Amazingly different.' Maryann Madsen
'I am seconding the reviewer who said "I want to talk to someone about this book!" It's a born book club selection with a maze of ideas, questions and themes to discuss. I'm always on the lookout for fiction that takes creative risks, draws me in with a compelling voice and shows a real mastery of the craft of writing. This book does all that and more. My Memories of a Future Life delivers on a genius premise with grace and storytelling skill. The plot points have been covered here already (a little too well in a few cases), and really, a synopsis of the book doesn't address what (for me) it's really about: the endless slipstream of possibilities of human existence. The author takes control of what could be a tangle of threads in less skilled hands. She makes it accessible, charms us with characters we don't want to leave behind and challenges us with a complex idea we couldn't leave behind if we wanted to. A thoroughly entertaining, thought-provoking, wonderfully moving verismo of a novel.' Joni Rodgers, League of Extraordinary Authors
'Sinister elements reminiscent of The League of Gentlemen and The Prisoner ... balance between intrigue, mild terror and charlatanism is perfectly maintained ... I need to talk to someone about this book' Ruby Barnes, Build Another Bookshelf
'Like John Fowles's The Magus ... combining an unsettling plot with hints of more beyond. It's not the depressing realism of your typical Booker novelist or the light fluffiness of a slice of middle class city life. Enjoyed it immensely.' Matt Kelland
About the Author
Roz Morris's fiction has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, although you won't have seen her name on the covers as she ghostwrote for high-profile authors. She is now writing acclaimed fiction under her own name. She is a writer, journalist, fiction editor and the author of the Nail Your Novel series for writers. She teaches creative writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper in London.
My Memories of a Future Life is her first novel writing as herself. Her second is Lifeform Three.
Top customer reviews
I'm a physicist by training and a skeptic, so you wouldn't think I'd care for that storyline. But this book is immersive, haunting, thought-provoking. It's also a hard book to write about. Best comparison I could think of would be Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland, although this book uses its double narrative in a more straightforward fashion (which personally I appreciate). In some ways the book follows the tropes of the supernatural romance and you expect a sparkly vampire to spring up, but then the book goes another direction entirely. . . there's also a creepy English town with an Innsmouth atmosphere. . . a musician's obsession with her craft and instrument. . . various disparate themes that weave together beautifully.
Anyway, I finished the read in a single sitting, which for me is extremely rare. Perhaps I liked it so much because of the many personal ways in which it spoke to me -- others may have a different reaction. I did have some quibbles with the climax and ending, and also with the occasional detail of musical discussion, but overall I loved this book and highly recommend it!
Roz Morris is a master at characterization, plot, pacing and suspense, and she knows how to entice reader participation. I loved the twist of Carol’s future life, not past, but I’ve always been esoterically minded. Whether you believe in reincarnation or you don’t, this story's engaging from the start — whether you’re musical or not. We can all empathize with Carol's obsession to some degree.
My lingering question now — if Carol, the pianist, has managed to overcome certain issues with her ‘therapist’ of the present, will her memories of the next life be fantasy? I’m still trying to figure out if Gene really is a rotter, so I may have to read it all over again.
Try some Roz Morris magic. You won’t be disappointed.
The plot points have been covered here already (a little too well in a few cases), and really, a synopsis of the book doesn't address what (for me) it's really about: the endless slipstream of possibilities of human existence. The author takes control of what could be a tangle of threads in less skilled hands. She makes it accessible, charms us with characters we don't want to leave behind and challenges us with a complex idea we couldn't leave behind if we wanted to.
A thoroughly entertaining, thought-provoking, wonderfully moving verismo of a novel.
Carol Lear, a concert pianist living in London and made inactive and irritable through spasms of searing pain lacerating her hands, seeks solace and perhaps a cure through yoga. When surrendering to the yoga teacher's discipline doesn't cut it, she reluctantly surrenders to her curiosity and the treatment offered by Gene Winter, a physiotherapist who practices hypnosis, whom she encounters while helping her gay friend and housemate Jerry, a lifelong sufferer of panic attacks, return home after a session with the stage regressionist Anthony Morrish. Morrish hypnotizes him and reveals that his panic attacks stem from reliving the horror of a 15-year-old victim of Jack the Ripper called Ruby Cunningham in the East End of London in 1888. He remains in a stupefied state after the session, and by intervening and helping Carol take Jerry home Gene gives her the means to visit him at his nearby flat.
Carol's sessions with Gene connect her through hypnosis with Andreq, a soothesayer who soothes but can't xech - a technique of energy therapy. He is from a future time where there is no time (only ageless cycles of red and blue seasons) and where people live in deep-lying undersea dwellings.The sessions continue and provide intermittent relief for Carol's hands. Her relationship with Gene however becomes increasingly tangled.
A flight from London to the English provincial town of Vellonoweth (don't worry, you won't find it or the nearby Ixenden on any map), where Carol housesits and teaches singing to a succession of clodhopping local wannabes, provides no relief other than a friendship with the dogged Eleanor, who takes Carol under her wing because of a shared family name. Word gets out about the channeling of Andreq among the local misfits who dabble in the occult, and Carol is first held in awe and later harassed for practicing evil sorcery and upsetting the local spiritualist dynamic. All the while Carol becomes more suspicious of Gene's motives and authenticity, and the relationship between her, Gene and music - especially the piano - builds up to a crescendo. A twist in the plot leads to a spine-tingling ending. Excited and perplexed,
you arrive at a plateau of possibilities concerning the relationship between Carol, Gene and Andreq (who forms a relationship of his own with the macho but sensitive Ruhul who is assigned to guard him).
Morris's use of the interplay of reality and illusions (there are references to infinity mirrors and Peppers Ghost windows) is masterful and subtle.
When you have finished reading this beautifully-written story you will want to tell your friends and significant other about it and discuss it endlessly until you are ready to plunge once more into that ocean of illusive, fascinating fish.
Most recent customer reviews
This has to be one of the strangest books I've ever read.Read more