August - 2020 - Memory Police - Yoko Ogawa

Review of Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

Book Group 1 – August 2020-10-03


Memory Police’s story begins on an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, roses – until things become much more serious.  Most of the Island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.  When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floor boards.  As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past.


Members discussed major symbolism in this book, such as authoritarianism, state surveillance, and government censorship.  We also found out what happened in the 90s in Japan in order to understand the background information of this book and we found out some possible relation between the book and historical events in Japan.  We also talk about how memories are recalled in our brain and what impacts it as to our lives and our loved ones.  The book did not give us clear answers of why it happened, how it happened but we enjoyed the time to figure out things through our discussion.


Jay (Jung Min Lee)