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Yesterday Hardcover – August 1, 2017
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"If you're into salacious plots, clever twists, and a mysterious murder, search no more."―Marie Claire
"Suspenseful, thought-provoking and uniquely relevant as it explores the pliability of memory, fidelity and factuality"―Family Circle
"Yap is a smart, swift plotter. . . . Remember her name."―Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times
"The thriller of the summer"―The Guardian [UK]
"[An] ingenious debut...Yap fully exploits her provocative premise."―Publishers Weekly [starred review]
"First novelist Yap has built an immersive, compelling, and terrifying world where the only truth people know is what they choose to tell themselves. For readers seeking a new spin on the unreliable narrator or fans of stories of self-deception such as Dan Chaon's Ill Will or E. Lockhart's We Were Liars."―Library Journal (starred review)
"A compelling debut... The piecing together of disparate memories and the surprise ending to this speculative fiction world will thrill mystery fans."―Booklist
"Makes us think differently, and more deeply, about ourselves from the world we live in... it's a twisty, well-plotted thriller and an exploration of memory itself."―Omnivoracious
"At once a high-concept thriller with a sci-fi premise and an old-school noir, Felicia Yap's Yesterday is a tasty, satisfyingly grounded blend. A rich, rewarding debut that shows the ways that memory can betray us as painfully--and perhaps as inevitably--as those we love."―Andrew Pyper, bestselling author of The Demonologist
"An intriguing, fast-paced thriller that captivated me right from the start."―Kate Rhodes, author of Crossbones Yard
"Never has psychological crime fiction been so original, so witty and so inventive. This is an absolute firecracker of a read. I haven't enjoyed a debut this much in ages."―William Shaw, author of The Birdwatcher
"Felicia Yap takes a unique premise and rockets through this year's most clever storyline. Spectacular twists, characters as distinct as they are compelling, and a resolution absolutely no one will have seen coming make Yesterday propulsive read. Memory loss has never been so fun."―Michael Cooper, author of Clawback
"A great murder mystery with a unique and unsettling twist. This book delighted and confounded me in equal measure!"―James Oswald, author of Natural Causes
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One day a body of a woman is found nearby where Claire and Mark live and soon a detective shows up at the couple’s door looking to talk to Mark. It seems that the victim had written quite a bit about Mark in her diary which is now property of the police and he is brought in for questioning in the woman’s murder. The detective has his own secrets and is insistent he will solve the case in a day with Mark being his primary focus.
Yesterday by Felicia Yap is a bit of mix of fantasy and thriller which really had me intrigued when reading the synopsis. Being one that loves when an author goes a bit out on a limb and tries something a bit different than you normally find I just had to pick this one up and really wasn’t disappointed as I found it a fun one to read.
The story is told from several different POVs, Mark, Claire, the detective on the case, and the also victim through her diary entries. It’s easy to follow along though and fun to see all sides of the story as it developed.
I did however find a few flaws with the book but it really didn’t bother me too much and bring down my enjoyment reading the story. Just in my opinion it could have used a tad more world building in the fantasy side and the thriller side really only had a few options so it isn’t too hard to guess the outcome. However, being that the author took a chance and included both sides in the story I would still recommend checking this one out.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
This is a world of mono's and duo's – mono's remember just one day, duo's remember two. Mono's are inferior to duo's. Mark and Claire are a mixed marriage; Mark is a duo and Claire a mere mono. The body of Mark's mistress has been washed up on the river Cam and Claire initially suspects her husband might have something to do with her death. Hans is the detective trying to solve what he suspects is murder, by the end of the day. He needs to do this within a day because he is a mono but also needs to keep this fact from his duo colleagues.
I found parts of this book confusing and also I wanted to shout “What does it matter? all will have forgotten by three days anyway” - only they didn't seem to forget everything, which just added to my confusion of how all the mono/duo memories worked.
I can't say it's a favourite book and, as none of my friends read fantasy, I can't think who to recommend this book to other than fantasy/sci-fi readers.
I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an Advance Reading Copy of this book for which I chose to give my honest review.
I’m not sure I can really call this ‘science fiction’—‘alternate history/contemporary world’, rather?— and for once I find ‘speculative fiction’ is actually more appropriate. ‘Yesterday’ is set in a 2015 world where people, due to a gene getting inhibited when they become adults, lose their short term memories. ‘Monos’ can only retain the previous days, while ‘Duos’ can retain two days… but nothing more. In order to function, people therefore have to keep writing in their diaries, and make a conscious effort to learn the important ‘facts’ that happened to them.
I found this premise quite interesting, especially when it came to setting a mystery in that world: how would an investigator go about their job, link clues together, if they can only rely on written facts and not on actual memories? Because they’re bound to forget to write some details that would then become important, only at the time they looked so trivial they didn’t think them so. This is DI Richardson’s conundrum, as the main investigator in Sophia Ayling’s suicide-or-murder case, since he knows he has to solve this very quickly, otherwise he may miss some important clues. Just like potential suspects will literally forget what a crafty interrogation session could have made them say. All of this, of course, while keeping in mind an important question: are diaries reliable?
The story revolves around four characters’ narratives and diaries: Claire Evans, a Mono ex-waitress who married a successful Duo writer, but struggles daily with her feelings of inadequacy compared to her husband’s ability to remember more; Mark Evans, whose career as a writer isn’t so satisfying anymore, just like his marriage, and who’s tempted to veer towards politics… and mistresses; Sophia Ayling, a woman with the rare ability to remember everything… including tiny little slights that built up into hatred and a deep desire for revenge; and Hans Richardson, the inspector determined to crack the case in one day, but who also harbours secrets of his own.
In itself, it was a fast-paced enough read (everything happens over 24 hours, after all), and one that kept my attention; the plot twists were easy enough for me to guess, yet at the same time I still wanted to see how the characters themselves, with their limited day to day memories, would go about making sense of everything that happened to them.
In the end, though, the memory limit proved to ask more questions than it provided answers, making the world building kind of… shaky? The society depicted here seems to have been built on the short term memory problem as if it had been here from the start. But while I can see how modern technology (paper diaries, then iDiaries—hello, parallel world Apple that I thought interesting in spite of being a little too obvious) would allow people to function, it makes one wonder how science and said technology developed in the first place: at some point, how was writing invented, if people couldn’t remember what they did two days ago, and couldn’t put it in written words? For me, it would’ve been more credible if the genetic shift had happened later in history—well, maybe it did, but the story doesn’t tell.
The ending, too, left me sceptical. I see what the author did there, but it felt too convoluted and resting on chance events (or perhaps, should I say, on a stroke of genius on one character’s part, but what led to it seemed too much like a convenient plot device?). Also, I would’ve expected the inspector character to make less blunders—either that, or other characters bearing on him for making them, because in the end there were no real consequences.
Conclusion: 2.5 stars. It is an entertaining first novel, I just wished the memory loss premise had been exploited better.
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