About the Book:
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.
Kim Neville’s debut novel The Memory Collectors is an intriguing and unique read. I love the cover of this magical realism novel—it exudes the feel of the novel. The book synopsis reminded me of Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things, but very quickly, it is obvious that the stories follow a much different path!
All the characters are flawed but yearn for normalcy. The main characters and narrators, Harriet and Evelyn, share an ability to feel or read the emotions of objects. Through their dual points of view, told in multiple timelines, readers learn of their deeply emotional and tragic histories and their current paths. One is a hoarder/collector of objects that emit strong emotional energy. One finds them and sells them to survive. One views her ability as a talent, and one views it as a curse. Their histories color their views and their present lives. Beyond these two characters, the flawed secondary and tertiary characters deeply add to the story. Owen, who turns found objects into art, is the catalyst to Harriet and Evelyn meeting. Evelyn’s sister, Noemi, is a bit of an enigma, but she is also a key to both Harriet and Evelyn’s epiphanies.
Despite the slowly unfolding plot, this book is engaging. I couldn’t tear myself away from each character’s story. I was completely invested in the characters’ lives as they connected and unraveled. As a whole, there is a lot of sadness and heartbreak in The Memory Collectors. There is also hope for a better future, and ultimately, isn’t that what we all need?
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.
Find Kim online:
© Copyright 2021 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.