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The Memory Addicts, by Derek Kannemeyer

Without memory, how might a society survive?

In Derek Kannemeyer’s novel, a memory loss pandemic turns the world’s billions into cataleptic husks. One person in twenty is immune, others hang on, wildly medicated—but can a civilization so brutally diminished recover?

Before the pandemic hits, Jody and Millar work at a Virginia medical research facility. A memory drug has run into problems. It sparks amazing restorations, but it also implants false memories. When Jody, for her own desperate reasons, steals a batch, she secures Millar’s help. A dozen people close to them are pulled in; the drug becomes their only hope to jury-rig a half-reliable identity.

The Memory Addicts is a love story, and a plague story, but it’s primarily the portrait of friends navigating a world in peril. Millar and Jody’s tale remains pivotal. It is star-crossed, like all their stories, yet incredibly, collectively, most of their group has survived. And now, on this one climactic day, four years on, it all threatens to come apart.

At issue are the ways in which our dependence on memory shapes and shackles us. And the fragility of the stories that we live by, and that we leave behind us.

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