Tell Me an Ending by Jo Harkin.
Our lives are shaped by our memories. They influence our understanding of the world, and through them we develop our sense of self. But what if you could excise a piece of your past?
At Nepenthe, memory erasure is big business, allowing clients to eliminate snippets of recall that trouble them. Clients can even choose a self-confidential procedure, where the deletion itself remains secret. It seems foolproof, until some report “traces,” lingering bits of memory coming to the surface. Now Nepenthe clients are presented with a choice: remain as they are, or restore the deletions and deal with what comes next.
Alternating between characters, the story explores how each one grapples with a central question — should I remember? — and what happens after they decide. Author Jo Harkin sets this absorbing near-future novel in a world much like our own, making the moral questions all the more piercing. “The future is here,” muses one character, “and it wasn’t thought through.”
(originally published in Bellingham Alive, April, 2022)