The Book of M
By Peng Shepherd
Assuming the world manages to keep on its present course without suffering any great civilization-ending catastrophes, one wonders what future historians will make of our culture’s obsession with apocalyptic fictions.
In The Book of M we find ourselves again on this blighted road, traveling through an American landscape ravaged by a plague that steals people’s memories along with their shadows. In the wake of this great Forgetting various survivors, including an archery champ and a man looking for his shadowless wife, set out on an eventful pilgrimage to New Orleans to meet a mysterious figure known as “The One Who Gathers.”
In her first novel Peng Shepherd stays on what is mostly familiar ground, telling a story reminiscent of books like Stephen King’s The Stand, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and Michael Tolkin’s NK3. Still, she keeps the journey interesting and makes us care about her characters while inviting us to consider how we are all the stuff of dreams.