Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal
I’ve been going through a Glamourist Histories withdrawal. I’ve been wishing that the series wasn’t over, even though I was really happy with the way Mary Robinette Kowal wrapped it up. I did a library search to see what else I could read and happily, there are a few things left that I had not yet uncovered. I decided to start with a novella, Forest of Memory. It’s a short, tense, and captivating read, and you see where Kowal’s fantasy and sci-fi roots take hold.
In a world where technology has overtaken natural life, Katya scavenges antiques and goods form the old world to keep people’s nostalgia alive. On her bike out of the city, she suddenly loses contact with her AI and is kidnapped by a strange man in the forest. Forced to become his guest, she bears witness to his sedating of the deer for what she suspects are nefarious means. Katya tells her story to an unnamed audience in an attempt to persuade them of her honesty. We get a sense of the story being told both in the present and after the fact.
This is an unusual little book with a lot of postmodern twists and turns. The book turns on itself and becomes meta-cognitive, which is interesting and thought-provoking. You become immersed in the world that Kowal creates and you hope that the book is just a little bit longer. One thing that I did wonder about was the number of typos in the novel. I do know that Katya was typing up her story, so I was curious if maybe the typos and crossed-out words were intentional. They were distracting and pulled me out of the story at first, though. So I don’t know if the “authenticity” worked entirely for me. That said, do check this book out. It’s a fast and enjoyable read.