Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review | THE MEMORY COLLECTORS by Kim Neville

Publication: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Atria Books,
Simon & Schuster CA
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.

Even as a child, Ev can already sense the emotions people imprinted on inanimate objects –good or bad. Growing up, she tried very hard not to annex these emotions despite trying to make a living out of them. And while Ev calls these objects “stains”, Harriet calls them “brilliant”. Harriet has been hoarding her brilliant things for many years and has a dream of building a museum of these wonders to help people heal emotionally and brighten their lives. To accomplish this, she needs Ev’s help and more.

THE MEMORY COLLECTORS is a delightful atmospheric debut with a unique concept and dark secrets that will instantly hook readers. The story builds slowly, while the characters’ past interlaces with the present, turning the suspense nicely. Ev and Harriet are both unusual characters -both troubled with the rarest of gifts and the most overwhelming history. They both had difficulty trusting others and building relationships, too. Still, it’s amazing how these people, who perceive things differently, are willing to sacrifice and help others.

This book is highly recommended for readers who love stories of strangers becoming a family with a touch of magical realism and thrilling mystery. The unabridged audio is narrated by Emily Woo Zeller.


About the Author:

Kim Neville is an author and graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, where she found the first shiny piece of inspiration that became The Memory Collectors. When she’s not writing she can be found heron-spotting on the seawall or practicing yoga in order to keep calm. She lives near the ocean in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband, daughter, and two cats. The Memory Collectors is her first novel. Photo by Jeremy Lim.

*Thanks to Atria Books, Simon & Schuster CA, and Netgalley for the egalley in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.


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