Tell Me An Ending is a sci-fi thriller that explores the value and ethics of a new technology, one that allows certain memories to be removed. For example, someone is involved in a tragic incident that haunts them, perhaps gives them PTSD, or survivor guilt. They can remove the parts of the incident that haunt them, knowing that such a thing happened to them, but not having the visceral memories. Others can have it completely removed, including the knowledge that something happened or even that they had a memory removed. This story follows people who are seeking or have had the procedure as a lawsuit forces the company to allow people to get those memories back, if they want them.
One of the people is Noor, who works for the company and who begins to suspect she is being set up to take the fall for higher-ups who have been dishonest. Another is a former police officer who wants a memory excised but is prohibited because cops, even those who left the service, are required to retain their memory in case they are required to testify. Another person is Mei, a recent college drop-out who is struggling with traces, scenes appearing that she has no memory of and suspects are memories that have been wiped. Another man is on the run because he doesn’t remember what he did, but thinks he must have done something awful. Another tells of a man whose wife gets a letter telling her she can get her memory restored, though she didn’t know she had erased a memory. He wonders if she erased an affair.
Tell Me An Ending is well-written. The different scenarios that could arise from this technology and the lawsuit work as ideas. The stories have an internal logic that makes sense. There was a lot of internal dialogue giving us insight into the characters and their motivations, but I think I would have preferred fewer stories, fewer people to follow. It’s not that I got confusing, but I didn’t get to fall in love with anyone. I didn’t spend enough time with them. I felt sorry for them but didn’t feel engaged. Some of that may also be the over-reliance on reading their thoughts. I don’t have to wonder what they feel, I am told what they feel. It’s a fine line because some inner monologue is necessary, but when it is overdone, then readers become less engaged. I think the concept of the novel is fresh and creative, but was not fully realized.
I received an e-galley of Tell Me An Ending from the publisher through NetGalley
Tell Me An Ending at Scribner | Simon & Schuster