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Nostalgia

de M. G. Vassanji

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706311,015 (3.33)15
"From one of Canada's most celebrated writers, two-time Giller Prize winner Moyez Vassanji, comes a taut, ingenuous and dynamic novel about a future where eternal life is possible, and identities can be chosen. In the indeterminate future in an unnamed western city, physical impediments to immortality have been overcome. As society approaches the prospect of eternal life, a new problem must be confronted: with the threat of the brain's storage capacity being overwhelmed, people want to move forward into the future free from redundant, unwanted and interfering memories. Rejuvenated bodies require rejuvenated identities--all traces of a person's past are erased and new, complete fictions are implanted in their stead. On occasion, though, cracks emerge, and reminders of discarded lives seep through. Those afflicted suffer from Leaked Memory Syndrome, or Nostalgia, whereby thoughts from a previous existence burrow in the conscious mind threatening to pull sufferers into an internal abyss. Doctor Frank Sina specializes in sealing these memory leaks. He is satisfied in his profession, more or less secure in the life he shares with his much younger lover, content with his own fiction--a happy childhood in the Yukon, an adulthood marked by the influence of a mathematician father and poet mother. But one day, Presley Smith arrives in Frank's office. Persistent thoughts are torturing Presley, recurring images of another time and place. As he tries to save Presley from the onslaught of memory, Frank finds clues that suggest Presley's past may be located in war-torn, nuclear-ravaged Maskinia, a territory located in the southern hemisphere, isolated from the north by fiercely guarded borders and policy barriers. Frank's suspicions are only intensified when the Department of Internal Security takes an interest in Presley. They describe him as one of their own, meaning his new life was one they created for him, and they want him back. Who was Presley before the Department remade him, what secrets are buried in the memories that are encroaching upon him? As Frank tries to save Presley from both internal and external threats, cracks emerge in his own fiction, and the thoughts that sneak through suggest a connection with the mysterious Presley that goes well beyond a doctor and his patient."--… (més)
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» Mira també 15 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I discuss this book in the context of Canada Reads 2017 and provide a brief review here

This book was really interesting. The premise was new to me and quite fascinating and the progression (transformation?) of the main character was interesting.

The author made a lot of subtle and not so subtle commentary about the dream to live forever and about the way advantaged people treat disadvantaged people (pitying them, but still acting as though they're expendable).

The one thing I didn't like was the last chapter. It was more of an epilogue and, save for exposing one key connection between two characters, it felt a bit gratuitous. Worse, it felt a little out of place and ruined the beauty of the last scene.

All that said, it's a good book and worth the read. ( )
  obtusata | Jan 9, 2020 |
Thanks to Goodreads and the publisher for a free copy of Nostalgia!

An amazing, thought-provoking book about memories and what makes us ourselves.

In a sort of dystopian future, people can start fresh by having their memories wiped and replaced with fiction, essentially achieving immortality. But this isn't without its many downsides: religious fanaticism, resentment from younger generations, and brutal class and country divides. And... a condition known as Nostalgia, where someone's old memories come flooding back.

The book starts with a patient and a strange memory about a lion. And from there, it delves into a beautifully-written commentary on identity, politics, and much more. While we may not be regenerating as the characters are, the parallels with our current world are thoughtful and eerie.

Highly recommended. ( )
  bucketofrhymes | Dec 13, 2017 |
"Nostalgia" by M.G. Vassanji is part fiction, part prophecy, and partial plea. It speaks of a not-so-distant future that enables society to eradicate old memories in place of creating fictionalized, new ones for a new, and in some cases, renewable identity.

Of course, with any bio-technology, especially that which tinkers with the brain and memory, it seems only natural for problems to arise, as it does in this novel in which its characters are conflicted between pursuing an immortal life through that of a Rejuvenist—obtaining a new body, new memories, and in essence a new life—or through those who are known to be BabyGens, the ones with existing, biological families; born, but engineered with near physical perfection.

Not to mention the protests of religious groups, which abhor the idea of man intervening with the natural process of life and death; a process preferred to be left to the work of a higher being, namely God.

But, the novel not only speaks to the morality of life and its longevity, and the means of manipulating memory in individuals, but also speaks to the wider issue of the disparaging view towards people and cultures that suffer from environmental chaos, financial poverty, government neglect, and political unrest.

The characters represent these dissident voices: the doctor whose role it is to provide new memories for eligible candidates that wish to remove themselves from the current life they are participating in, to analyzing those who suffer from Leaked Memory Syndrome, otherwise known as Nostalgia, when memories from one’s unknown past leak into the conscious mind threatening to unravel the person’s mind and body altogether.

To the BabyGens, whose “newness” to the world resents the longevity of their Rejuvenist predecessors who continue “living” through renewable and fabricated memory, as well as their continual hold on society’s financial privilege and power.

Then there are the Purists, who can neither afford Rejuvenist treatment, nor desire their memories eradicated for new ones, but would rather die with their true memories and original bodies in tact even if that means a living a shorter life span.

There are also the Monotheists, who protest the Rejuve Movement, which goes against the wishes of an Almighty God who planned a fixed life span for each soul. For the Hindus and Buddhists, rejuvenation interferes with karma and the cycle of rebirths.

And lastly, there are those in militant groups behind the lines of poverty who fight for societal change through the means of violence.

The plot in the book is simple, yet quietly cunning, while not overly immersed in action, still moves the story forward in pressing the dangers of pure government autonomy and memory manipulation.

Yet, the turn of the plot also seemed far too easily contrived rather than a natural conclusion.

To finish reading the rest of this review, please visit Zara's Closet:
http://zarasclosetblog.wordpress.com ( )
  ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez | Jun 6, 2017 |
In a not-so-distant future, humanity has finally learned how defeat to death. There's only one catch: the mind can only hold so many memories and it doesn't always forget what you'd like it to. A fascinating read about memory and identity that questions whether the dream of immortality would be a nightmare if humanity ever managed to achieve it. A truly addictive book
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  Gail.C.Bull | Mar 30, 2017 |
While Speculative Fiction is not something I usually enjoy, I certainly did like this book. It tells the story of a near-future were near immortality has been achieved...and along with new bodies/organs, "rejuvies" receive new lives. Their old memories are erased and replaced with memories of an idyllic past. Sometimes, old memories intrude into new lives ( Leaked Memory Syndrome) and doctors like our protagonist , Dr. Frank Sina, can fix that. When Presley Smith arrives suffering from Leaked Memory Syndrome, Dr. Sina feels a strong connection to him, but doesn't know why. The novel explores their connection.

The author has created a believable future world. We have conflict between the rich, North Atlantic countries and southern states ruled by warlords and plagued with poor living conditions. We have conflict between young people and the "rejuvies" because the older people don't retire or leave inheritances to the young, making the future less bright for them than for previous generations. We have religious groups who oppose engineered immortality....all very plausible and similar to some of the societal conflicts we live with today. The characters are well developed and there's a good story here. I actually liked it! ( )
  LynnB | Mar 15, 2017 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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"From one of Canada's most celebrated writers, two-time Giller Prize winner Moyez Vassanji, comes a taut, ingenuous and dynamic novel about a future where eternal life is possible, and identities can be chosen. In the indeterminate future in an unnamed western city, physical impediments to immortality have been overcome. As society approaches the prospect of eternal life, a new problem must be confronted: with the threat of the brain's storage capacity being overwhelmed, people want to move forward into the future free from redundant, unwanted and interfering memories. Rejuvenated bodies require rejuvenated identities--all traces of a person's past are erased and new, complete fictions are implanted in their stead. On occasion, though, cracks emerge, and reminders of discarded lives seep through. Those afflicted suffer from Leaked Memory Syndrome, or Nostalgia, whereby thoughts from a previous existence burrow in the conscious mind threatening to pull sufferers into an internal abyss. Doctor Frank Sina specializes in sealing these memory leaks. He is satisfied in his profession, more or less secure in the life he shares with his much younger lover, content with his own fiction--a happy childhood in the Yukon, an adulthood marked by the influence of a mathematician father and poet mother. But one day, Presley Smith arrives in Frank's office. Persistent thoughts are torturing Presley, recurring images of another time and place. As he tries to save Presley from the onslaught of memory, Frank finds clues that suggest Presley's past may be located in war-torn, nuclear-ravaged Maskinia, a territory located in the southern hemisphere, isolated from the north by fiercely guarded borders and policy barriers. Frank's suspicions are only intensified when the Department of Internal Security takes an interest in Presley. They describe him as one of their own, meaning his new life was one they created for him, and they want him back. Who was Presley before the Department remade him, what secrets are buried in the memories that are encroaching upon him? As Frank tries to save Presley from both internal and external threats, cracks emerge in his own fiction, and the thoughts that sneak through suggest a connection with the mysterious Presley that goes well beyond a doctor and his patient."--

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