Summary:The Memory Man is an intriguing new short story from bestselling British author Helen Smith. Two women become friends in an abandoned post-apocalyptic building. A psychic makes contact with a lost soul. His apprentice tries to find news of a man he has lost touch with. Fragments of memories are traded and twisted. Friendship provides comfort, but the recovery of memories brings torment rather than reassurance - until truth becomes secondary to survival.
I can't help but like Smith's style. Even after ruthlessly throwing her characters into a grim situation the tone of the story always remains cheeky. This allowed me to instantly connect with the characters and feel genuinely interested in their fates in a comparatively short space of time.
I would say that, as a whole, I liked The Memory Man. But it did seem to suffer from one major flaw: transitions. Not quite enough attention went into providing backdrop for the tale. The summary actually reveals more than the story ever did. This would have been fine if it weren't for the occasional switches back and forth from some sort of "dream state" to reality. By the end I found myself confused with more questions than answers.
Still, I liked the journey. Short stories, to me, are about the experience. They aren't long enough to become involved in a world so the impression you are left with is everything. I found this story engaging. I just wish a few more loose ends had been tied up.
Review by Alain Gomez
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