Friday 23 February 2018

The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave #BlogTour @HollyACave @QuercusBooks #MemoryChamber

True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity re-living your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.
Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal - and married - clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.
But when Jarek's wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds...

The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave was published in hardback by Quercus Books on 22 February 2018 and is the author's first novel.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Imagine a time where the thought of dying is not quite as terrifying as we know it. Imagine knowing for a fact that when you die you will be reunited with your dearest memories. You'll spend time with your loved ones, sharing happy times and favourite moments. That's the premise of this quite original and strangely compelling first novel from Holly Cave.

Lead character Isobel is a Heaven Architect. She creates a personal, individual Heaven for her clients. She's very good at what she does, in fact she's the best architect in the business. She's committed and thorough and totally dedicated to her work.

Set sometime in the future, The Memory Chamber can be called speculative fiction, and if I'm honest, that classification scares the hell out of me. Despite this, I began to read and soon found myself caught up in this intriguing, if somewhat complicated story. Whilst Holly Cave quite obviously draws upon her science background in her creation of this story, it is very accessible to those of us, like me, whose brain doesn't work in a particularly scientific way.

Woven into the details of neurons and brain cells and the whole process of creating a virtual heaven is a story that centres on an age-old love story. Forbidden love; falling for someone that you really shouldn't, and also the moral and ethical processes behind both the illicit love and the concept of having the wealth to be able to create a better afterlife.

The plot veers off to directions that I really didn't expect, but that I found quite fascinating at times. Isobel is a character who is difficult to like, or to understand, but she's incredibly well created and quite enigmatic.

Part science-fiction, part crime thriller, part love story; The Memory Chamber can be a challenging read at times, but it is quite riveting and I enjoyed the story very much.

I'm delighted to welcome the author, Holly Cave here to Random Things today, she's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - Holly Cave

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
These children’s stories are so full of warm truths that they continue to resonate with me now. Every night, my parents would take it in turns to make up their own story with Milne’s cast of characters, including one important addition, Holly-in-the-Oak-Tree. She was a lot like me, and she’d have Pooh and Christopher Robin and the rest of them out on a different adventure each bedtime. I guess that made me believe that my favourite stories could be ones I made up myself.

Pisces Rising by Peter Cave & Margaret Wredden
My dad was a writer, too, and he wrote this novel with my mum before they got married. I read it as a teenager and adored it. When I decided I wanted to write a book of my own in my twenties, a modern, YA rewrite of this became my first project. I still think I might return to it one day.

The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively
This isn’t a book, but a short story which was part of my GCSE English Language Anthology. I developed a bit of a teenage crush on it and could, at one point, recite whole passages by heart. Now I can only remember one line: The darkness was out there and it was a part of you and you would never be without it, ever. It’s still my go-to case study every time I sit down to write a short story, because I think it’s just utterly perfect. And ever since then, I’ve been drawn to the darker side of human nature in my own writing.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
In 2010, I knew I wanted to write full-time, I just didn’t know how. So, I did the obvious thing and quit my job. I spent my first two months in India, during which time I read this amazing novel. Everything I found in India – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes – was reflected back at me by the book, and vice versa. It helped me understand this otherworldly country I found myself in, and somehow made me feel more part of it – a unique experience.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
This genre-defying masterpiece showed me that I could write the kinds of stories I wanted to write. It will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason.

Wool by Hugh Howey
When I first decided to self-publish my first book, The Generation, it felt like second best. But then I read Wool and I read about Hugh Howey’s journey from indie author to bestseller. The book itself is brilliant – stunningly original – but his story, so honestly shared, changed my life and gave me the belief that I could achieve whatever I wanted to.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I read this epic novel a few years ago, and I know I will read it again one day. It’s one of my all-time favourites, bursting with truth and gothic beauty. Ultimately, though, it’s about the transformative power of literature. If you haven’t read it, I compel you to do so.

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
I read this quite recently after enjoying her debut, Only Ever Yours. She’s a ridiculously talented writer. It’s a tough read at times, emotionally, but it’s one of the few books I genuinely believe everyone should read. It’s brave, unflinching, and so relevant to rape culture in today’s society. I
think of it every time I read an article about sexual assault and find myself shocked by people’s attitudes towards victims. Read this, I want to tell them, and you might begin to understand. 

Holly Cave - February 2018

Holly Cave was born in Devon, UK, in 1983. She has a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London. She spent four years working at the Science Museum in London. After a career break to travel the world, Holly became a freelance writer and now writes about science and technology alongside her fiction work. She lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, son and dog. 

THE MEMORY CHAMBER is her first novel with Quercus UK. She self-published THE GENERATION in 2015, and also wrote a number of unpublished works with her father on his typewriter in the 1990s.

Find out more at
Follow her on Twitter @HollyACave

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