Welcome back to the Black Lit Book Club, hosted by Shannon Hanks-Mackey, managing editor of the Black Scholar journal. Gathering on the last Tuesday of each month, readers will explore the works of black authors from Africa and across the diaspora. This is a book club intended for black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC).
Book club titles will not be limited to any one genre, and monthly picks may be pulled from fiction, history, mystery, graphica, sci-fi/fantasy, young adult, poetry, and more. This month's book selection is Mem by Bethany C. Morrow.
All monthly book club titles are discounted 20% for the month prior to the book club meeting. No purchase required. Drink specials (both alcoholic and non) are available from Raconteur during book club meetings.
The bookstore is on a street-level floor with wide aisles and no stairs to meeting area or to the wheelchair accessible restroom. There are two accessible parking spaces available near the front entrance (permit required). We ask that all attendees help make this a fragrance-free zone by not wearing scented products to the meeting.
MEM is a rare novel, a small book carrying very big ideas, the kind of story that stays with you long after you've finished reading it.
Set in the glittering art deco world of a century ago, MEM makes one slight alteration to history: a scientist in Montreal discovers a method allowing people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete. The Mems exist as mirror-images of their source -- zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over, until they expire in the cavernous Vault where they are kept.
And then there is Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem capable of creating her own memories. An ageless beauty shrouded in mystery, she is allowed to live on her own, and create her own existence, until one day she is summoned back to the Vault. What happens next is a gorgeously rendered, heart-breaking novel in the vein of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.
Debut novelist Bethany Morrow has created an allegory for our own time, exploring profound questions of ownership, and how they relate to identity, memory and history, all in the shadows of Montreal's now forgotten slave trade.