The Book of M: A Novel (Hardcover)
What delighted me most about this book is that I couldn't predict anything that happened. All the standard tropes of post-apocalyptic fiction were tweaked in interesting ways: for example, the plague that is sweeping the globe consists of peoples' shadows disappearing, taking not only the victims' memories, but imbuing them with the ability to alter reality - in ways they can't control. Multiple story lines of both past and present narratives finally converge in a truly gut-wrenching twist at the novel's very end. —Lindsey— From Staff Favorites List
"This was a strange and delightfully fascinating book. I didn't know what to expect, even from moment to moment, but every new twist and turn simply pulled me deeper into the story. Drawing on Indian mythology and folklore, and a bit of neuroscience, the end result is exquisite." —Caitlin— From The Most Brilliant Books of 2018
Brad Thor's Summer 2018 Fiction Pick for THE TODAY SHOW!
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY Elle • Refinery29 • PopSugar • Verge
"Eerie, dark, and compelling, [The Book of M] will not disappoint lovers of The Passage and Station Eleven." --Booklist
WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE UP TO REMEMBER?
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.
About the Author
Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She earned her MFA in creative writing from New York University, and has lived in Beijing; London; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and New York City. The Book of M is her first novel.
“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.”
— Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World
“Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).”
“Brilliant debut... The Book of M is right up there with Station Eleven: achingly beautiful literary novels about a changed world.”
“This is an apocalyptic thriller with heart... The Book of M is devastating and inventive as Shepherd examines the value of memory, packing in imaginative twists as she goes.”
— USA Today
“It is an incredible concept, and she is a brilliant, brilliant new fiction writer. This is someone who you’re eventually going to have on this couch—she’s that good.”
— Brad Thor, The Today Show
“A beautiful and haunting story about the power of memory and the necessity of human connection, this book is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece and the one dystopian novel you really need to read this year.”
“The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.”
— Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life
“Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.”
— David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself and Absolutely American
“A beautifully written existential apocalypse, following everyday people on a search for love, memory and meaning across the richly realized and frighteningly familiar ruins of America.”
— Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas
“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.”
— Library Journal
“Fans of Station Eleven, listen up!...This one is g-r-e-a-t.”
— Book Riot
“Outstanding and unforgettable...The Book of M is a scary, surprising, sad and sentimental story that will be deeply felt by readers while capturing their imaginations and hearts.”
— BookPage (Top Fiction Pick)
“For fans of Station Eleven, this summer release will have you engulfed from beginning to end.”
“[Shepherd’s] first novel, The Book of M, tells the fantastic story of ordinary people caught up in a catastrophe in which people lose their shadows — and their memories.”
— Arizona PBS
“Beautifully written, Peng Shepherd delivers an extraordinary story about love, hope, the unquenchable search for answers that may never come, and, ultimately, survival...The characters all have such depth to them that it’s impossible to not become invested in the story, which twists and turns often.”
“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.”
“Reminiscent of books like Stephen King’s The Stand, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and Michael Tolkin’s NK3... she keeps the journey interesting, makes us care about her characters, and invites us to think about how we are all the stuff of dreams.”
— Toronto Star
“The Book of M shines consistently, first in the sense of magical wonder that permeates each of its pages, and second, in the emotional depth that Shepherd is able to draw out of her characters... brutal and brilliant in equal measure.”
— The Contemporary Clerk
“Shepherd’s tale pushes the post-apocalyptic story in a new and exciting direction, making readers ponder questions about reality, self-perception and relationships.”
— Shelf Awareness
“Captivating...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.”