The Book of M
Author: Peng Shepherd
Publication Date: June 5th, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Synopsis: Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.
One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.
Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.
Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.
As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.
“A beautiful and haunting story about the power of memory and the necessity of human connection, this book is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece and the one dystopian novel you really need to read this year.” ―Bustle
“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.” ―Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World
“The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.” ―Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life
“Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.” ―David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself and Absolutely American
“A beautifully written existential apocalypse, following everyday people on a search for love, memory and meaning across the richly realized and frighteningly familiar ruins of America.” ―Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas
“Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.” ―Publishers Weekly
“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.” ―Library Journal
“Fans of Station Eleven, listen up!…This one is g-r-e-a-t.” ―Book Riot
“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).” ―Booklist
“Brilliant debut… The Book of M is right up there with Station Eleven: achingly beautiful literary novels about a changed world.” ―Refinery29.com
“Outstanding and unforgettable…The Book of M is a scary, surprising, sad and sentimental story that will be deeply felt by readers while capturing their imaginations and hearts.” ―BookPage (Top Fiction Pick)
“For fans of Station Eleven, this summer release will have you engulfed from beginning to end.” ―Popsugar
“[Shepherd’s] first novel, The Book of M, tells the fantastic story of ordinary people caught up in a catastrophe in which people lose their shadows — and their memories.” ―Arizona PBS
“Beautifully written, Peng Shepherd delivers an extraordinary story about love, hope, the unquenchable search for answers that may never come, and, ultimately, survival…The characters all have such depth to them that it’s impossible to not become invested in the story, which twists and turns often.” ―TheRealBookSpy.com
“The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.” ―TheNerdDaily.com
“It’s a great setting for a murder, and each of Rader-Day’s prickly millennials feels capable of murder—to say nothing of sleep-deprived, near hysterical Eden. Readers will have fun following the subtle clues.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Reminiscent of books like Stephen King’s The Stand, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and Michael Tolkin’s NK3… she keeps the journey interesting, makes us care about her characters, and invites us to think about how we are all the stuff of dreams.” ―Toronto Star
“The Book of M shines consistently, first in the sense of magical wonder that permeates each of its pages, and second, in the emotional depth that Shepherd is able to draw out of her characters… brutal and brilliant in equal measure.” ―The Contemporary Clerk
“Shepherd’s tale pushes the post-apocalyptic story in a new and exciting direction, making readers ponder questions about reality, self-perception and relationships.” ―Shelf Awareness
The Book of M was the kind of novel that I was not expecting to love as much as I did. It was deep, heartfelt, and full of emotion and adventure. It was the kind of book that once I started reading, there was no way I was going to be able to put it down until I had finished. I was glued to the pages from the beginning all the way through, because it was just captivating and entertaining.
I love science fiction books that have a dash of magic and emotion to them. The Book of M had all of that. It touched on a very important topic – the topic of memories. We all have memories that we cherish and hold dear to our hearts, but what would happen if we lost them? Even if we were to gain different abilities or powers, and had to pay in memories, would you want to?
The characters in The Book of M are easily the kind of characters you hope for in a book like this. They are strong willed, determined, and full of the kind of strength that one would need in order to survive a life in these kinds of conditions. While the plot of the book is already strong, it is greatly strengthened even more by the fact that the characters are able to bring it all to life.
Just when you think you might be tired of reading novels that are slightly dystopian in nature, there comes a new one that really knocks it all out of the park. The Book of M is truly fun, original, and even thrilling. It’s definitely the exciting kind of book that you will want to curl up with on a rainy day and not put down – there is so much about this book that just makes it so easy to fall in love with.
The story is so well written, with flowing paragraphs that grab your attention and keep you interested in the story long after the first pages. The world is built beautifully and imaginatively, and I can’t believe how wonderful of a picture that I had in my mind about the world in the book. I loved it.
If you want something a bit different, you have to give this book a try. It’s beautifully written, and even more than that, it’s the kind of book that makes you think and appreciate your life and the memories you have.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review – thank you!
Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and has lived in Beijing, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. The Book of M is her first novel.
PHOTO CONTENT FROM PENG SHEPHERD
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