The Book of M

The Book of M

A Novel

Book - 2018
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Brad Thor's Summer 2018 Fiction Pick for THE TODAY SHOW!

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY Elle * Refinery29 * PopSugar * Verge

"The Book of M is devastating and inventive as Shepherd examines the value of memory, packing in imaginative twists as she goes." --USA Today

"Eerie, dark, and compelling, [The Book of M] will not disappoint lovers of The Passage and Station Eleven." --Booklist


Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man's shadow disappears--an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max's shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

Like The Passage and Station Eleven, this haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.

Publisher: New York :, William Morrow,, ©2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062669605
Branch Call Number: FICTION SHE


From Library Staff

A dystopian world in which losing your shadow means losing your memory.

A dystopian world in which losing your shadow means losing your memory.

When people begin to lose their shadows, the phenomenon, called the Forgetting, quickly spreads. Those afflicted gain a strange new power, but also face the loss of all their memories. Ory and his wife Max thought they escaped the Forgetting, until Max's shadow disappears.

From the critics

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IndyPL_CarriG Apr 22, 2019

A heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming dystopian fantasy novel with characters whose depth becomes more and more apparent as time goes on. The cause and full impact of the event that caused the cataclysms leading to this bleak future are never fully explained - which makes it intriguing to try to piece together. People who don't like modern fiction and don't enjoy this type of vagueness though should steer clear - this novel is about the very human people in the midst of catastrophe, not about how that catastrophe came to be. Though there are hints, clues, and hope by the end. A thoroughly engrossing read.

Dec 23, 2018

I enjoyed this book, which tells the story of apocalyptic collapse of society after people lose their shadows and then their memories. The Shadowed and Shadowless are all affected differently in their methods of coping in this new world. The story mixes East Indian mythology, magic, Peter Pan references (he is the first to have lost his shadow in modern western mythology), the dementia of losing memories, books and stories of memories. A fabulous interwoven story of the survival of our various protagonists; coexistence; xenophobia; while our characters are making their way to the fabled Gatherer who may have the cure. A very original book, with a complex interwoven story that is easy to follow.

Aug 10, 2018

I was also skeptical about this book when I started it, and put it down for a week, not sure that I would bother to finish it. But I did, and I am so glad. An intriguing plot (encompassing a dystopian future, magic, religious cults, and a love story) that examines of who we are if we lose our memories, and what happens to the people who are forgotten.

Jul 30, 2018

For the first quarter of this book I was skeptical. A shadow is not a thing. It can’t be lost. What sort of nonsense is this? I’m so glad I stuck with it. What an emotional ride! It’s hard to describe without giving too much away, so I’ll just say it’s very different from other “dystopian future” books that I’ve read. It even has aspects of magical realism, which is my favorite genre. Mainly it’s a love story, actually two love stories. It’s also a book about how we learn to communicate with each other and how we remember each other…or not. Wow, it’s apparently hard to classify a specific genre but I will admit I was crying by the end. I think this will probably turn out to be one of my favorite books of the year.

multcolib_rachaels May 30, 2018

Shepherd takes an ambitious, original idea and grows it to a fantastic novel through character development and a deeply thought out system of magic. People lose their shadows, then their memories. What they forget can disappear, and what they remember incorrectly can change what's real for everyone. In the post-apocalyptic world formed accidentally by the shadowless, people struggle to survive and find loved ones. Reads like Station Eleven meets Amatka.

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Oct 15, 2018

cheryllaughlin thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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