“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.” – Amazon
There are so many layers to this book that deal with the evil within, depression, family bonds, how friendships can heal, letting go, and learning to trust yourself. There is also a mystery intertwined which adds another wonderful element to The Memory Collectors.
The first part of the book was a bit slow at times, but I still didn’t find myself skimming like I sometimes do with a slower paced book. I think this was because the details were so beautifully written, and Neville was able to capture human emotion so well. Neville writes relationships in vivid detail, whether it be between family, friends, or people just getting to know each other.
The middle started to pick up and give more foreshadowing, and then the end… wow! The culmination of all the story lines and everyone’s emotions was a whirlwind of intense reading.
I was hoping there would be more in regards to the museum and being able to see people’s reactions to the exhibits, but that just means there’s potential for another book! If you enjoy magical realism or a story with lots of emotional layers, I highly recommend The Memory Collectors.
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