I was intrigued from just the description of the book and then was thrilled to discover that a world limited in memory was every bit of a fun as a setting for a mystery as I had anticipated.
I received an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers.
Yesterday, Felicia Yap
August 1, 2017, Mulholland Books
How do you solve a murder when you only remember yesterday?
Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Monos, the majority, have only one day’s worth of memory; elite Duos have two. In this stratified society, where Monos are excluded from holding high office and demanding jobs, Claire and Mark are a rare mixed marriage. Clare is a conscientious Mono housewife, Mark a novelist-turned-politician Duo on the rise. They are a shining example of a new vision of tolerance and equality—until…
...a beautiful woman is found dead, her body dumped in England’s River Cam. The woman is Mark’s mistress, and he is the prime suspect in her murder. The detective investigating the case has secrets of his own. So did the victim. And when both the investigator’s and the suspect’s memories are constantly erased—how can anyone learn the truth?
Told from four different perspectives, that of Mark, Claire, the detective on the case, and the victim—Felicia Yap’s staggeringly inventive debut leads us on a race against an ever-resetting clock to find the killer. With the science-fiction world-building of Philip K. Dick and the twisted ingenuity of Memento , Yesterday is a thriller you’ll never forget.
Yap sets up some really compelling social ideas for how society would chose to divide over length of memory instead of by religion or skin color. While there was also plenty of compelling reasons to explain why the memory issues existed for all human beings, I wish I understood better how long this issue had been effecting people as it was primarily recent decades that were explored within the story.
I also really enjoyed the way that the technology that has become such a standard part of our daily lives has been reappropriated to fit within the world the author has created. I won’t spoil anything beyond that, other than to say that I had a chuckle over this kind of blend of real world people and other world ideas.
What surprised me the most about this story is that there are really three main threads to the narrative, one being the most obvious- the attempt to solve a murder, the second being a B plot about the lead detective’s desire to hide that the fact that he is a mono (this is revealed fairly early on) and the third, and most surprising, is that the story turned out to have a lot of real love at the heart of the story. I don’t usually find a lot of genuine romance in murder mysteries, at least not in the kinds I read, and it was a welcome addition.
Like most good stories, and murder mysteries especially, it's really an exploration of human nature, and why we chose to do the things we do, whether we live in a world with a lifetime of memories, or one where we only retain a few days. Overall this book offered a unique world and an intriguing murder with some fun twists in the end.