Wednesday 11 May 2022

Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin BLOG TOUR #TellMeAnEnding @HutchHeinemann @RandomTTours #JoHarkin @najmafinlay #BookReview


What if you didn't have to live with your worst memories?

Across the world, thousands of people are shocked to receive an email telling them that they once chose to have a traumatic memory removed. Now they are being given the chance to get that memory back.

For Mei, William, Oscar and Finn there is a piece missing, but they're not sure what. And each of them must decide if the truth is worth the pain, or better left unknown.

For Noor, who works at the memory clinic Nepenthe, the process of reinstating their patients' memories begins to shake the moral foundations of her world. As she delves deeper into the programme, she will have to risk everything to uncover the true human cost of this miraculous technology.

An exploration of secrets, grief, identity and belonging - of the stories we tell ourselves, and come to rely on, Tell Me An Ending is a sharp, dark and devastating novel about the power and danger of memory.

Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin is published in hardback on 12 May 2022 by Hutchinson Heinemann. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour. 

Imagine that you could wipe out a memory. No longer would you be haunted by something that happened to you, or something that you did. Wipe it clean away, never to be ever thought about again, and get on with the rest of your life. 

That's the service offered by a memory clinic called Nepenthe. Clients pay their cash and get their appointment and then, as if by magic, all of their troubles disappear. 

Sounds too good to be true? It probably is. As with most scientific processes, things can and do go a little awry and there are rumours (much denied by Nepenthe) that clients may be getting 'traces'. Short bursts of memory that they cannot make sense of. There are two types of clients at Nepenthe; the self-informed and the self-confidential. The self-informed are aware that they've had a memory erased, whilst the self-contained have had the memory of their erasure removed, along with the memory. Those clients have no idea that they were ever at Nepenthe. 

Nepenthe have to inform their clients that they are entitled to have their erased memory reinstated. Thousands of the self-confidential clients across the world are now receiving letters telling them that they can undo something that they didn't even know they'd had done. 

This is a fascinating premise for a novel and Jo Harkin handles it so very very well. It's not a short book by any means, but it's a novel that the reader will speed through. I was frantically turning the pages, desperate to get to the bottom of what is happening. 

The story is told by various characters. Noor works at Nepenthe and she's always been one hundred per cent behind every thing that they do. Her boss and mentor, Louise, is something of an idol to her. As Noor slowly and gradually realises that there's been far more going on at the clinic that she ever suspected, her views on her own relationships begin to change. 

Mei, William, Oscar and Finn are all clients of Nepenthe and all have their own voices and parts to play in this story. Each one of them is beautifully created, their voices are unique, their circumstances so very different, and each one is a surprise. I admit to being more invested in Oscar's story from the beginning. He is an enigmatic character who is a bit of a mystery throughout the story, but has such a massive part to play in the whole Nepenthe outfit. 

This is a sharp, inventive and clever novel. The author raises so many moral and ethical questions whilst delivering a tale that moves so quickly and engrosses throughout. 

There's so much to think about in this one. Highly recommended by me. 

Jo Harkin's passion is literary sci-fi, with an emphasis on how new technology impacts human lives.

Her inspirations include Kazuo Ishiguro, Jennifer Egan, Charlie Kaufman and Margaret Atwood. 

Her first speculative fiction novel, Tell Me An Ending, is released in March 2022 in the US and May 2022 in the UK. 

She lives in Berkshire, England.

Instagram @joharkinwriter

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