Kim Neville comes to the blog with her debut offering, one that uses emotions, found things and memories to create a story with
The Memory Collectors
Told in two perspectives, we have women who discover that they can ‘relive’ emotions and memories from found objects. While Ev believes that her “gift” is more of a curse, and the objects she finds need to be handled carefully and then destroyed, her absolute contrast is Helen. Helen has the same gifts but is obsessed with collecting and keeping these items: and the overload of emotional energy they are releasing into the world is affecting those in proximity to her.
When Ev and Helen meet, purely by chance – there isn’t a great “oooh you are like me” moment – it’s more subtle, as Ev tries to influence and push Helen into her own way of thinking. But Helen thinks that people can benefit from the memories stored in her found objects: using the energies for good. The premise here is wonderous, but there was something holding it all back from achieving this goal. Characters here weren’t particularly memorable without their “ability” to feel/see past events tied to the objects, and the magic that I hoped to find was often shrouded in the mechanics of making the ‘museum’ or finding the objects.
I will say that Neville used words and phrases beautifully: giving visual imagery of ‘moments’ that were clear and evocative, but these moments were fleeting, as the story and the lack of actual emotional connection to the characters weighed them down. While I hoped to be swept away with magical moments and items that, when described, allowed me to feel those emotions contained within – I wasn’t moved. A great premise with moments of brilliance that left much on the table. There will be more to come from this author and I’m curious to see how her writing improves and strengthens to take concepts to full bloom.
Title: The Memory Collectors
Author: Kim Neville
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Dark-theme, Dual Narration, Magical Realism, Mystery Elements, Paranormal, Setting: Canada
Published on: 16 March, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 48 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.