The Memory of Animals

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With the world’s citizens dying from a pandemic, Neffy enrolls in a risky vaccine trial that has the potential to save humanity. Far from feeling heroic, Neffy enrolls for the money, having lost her job at an aquarium for reasons that are initially unclear. She’s also trying hard to escape from a complicated romantic relationship she isn’t sure how—or whether—to pursue.

Life in the hospital, however, turns out to be far from an escape. When Neffy wakes from a serious spell of illness, she finds the hospital empty except for a handful of other participants. Short on food, drinking water, and news of the hellscape that is the outside world, Neffy must reshape her ideas about herself, her future, and her newly crucial role as a living, potentially virus-immune citizen of society.

Moving fluidly from past to present, the narrative reveals bits and pieces of Neffy’s life, and her fraught history slowly crystallizes. Neffy is passionate but impulsive, closed off but yearning for connection, with a tendency to be frustratingly indecisive and often passive; and her flaws and contradictions ultimately put her few companions at risk. The novel strives for hope, but perhaps we’re still too close to the near-past pandemic to recognize anything but horror in another.

Reviewed By:

Author Claire Fuller
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher WW Norton
Publish Date 06-Jun-2023
ISBN 9781953534873 Buy this Book
Issue August 2023
Category Modern Literature


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