Cover Image: Tell Me an Ending

Tell Me an Ending

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Member Reviews

I was attracted to this novel because the story is set in the near future about a tech company that deletes unwanted memories.
Then I began to doubt my choice when so many reviews compared it to Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind.
My concerns were unfounded. This is a deftly written novel that subtly handles an intriguing subject. An engaging exploration of our relationships to our memories

Nepenthe, the company that erases unwanted memories has been extremely successful but now some past clients are complaining of ‘traces’, shadows of the memories that the company was supposed to have completely erased.
Nepenthe does not acknowledge that this is actually happening but they have recently lost a court case and are now required to restore memories to those who request it.

There are two type of memory erasure procedures. The first where the client remembers they had the procedure but not the memory . The second is confidential – people are whisked away to the clinic in the dark of night and do not even remember they have had memory erased.
Both types are clients are now receiving notices from the company informing then they can have the memory restored if they wish.

The narrative follows several story lines : There is Noor, a psychologist at the clinic who is trying to investigate her boss Laura’s suspicious behavior and understand what exactly is going on. There are also the storylines of several clients, people who have had their memories erased including Laura’s daughter.
Each point of view enables us to perceive the world through the slightly confused mind of the Nepenthe clients and story shows how memory loss can affect a person’s personality and self-image, examining how different people cope with troubling memories.

This was a difficult novel to bring to a conclusion, finding a satisfying resolution for each point of view as well as the story as a whole, and the author managed it skillfully.
The writing is mature and accomplished with a delightful description of the clinic as well as a caring portrayal of the relationships between the characters which belies the fact that this is a debut novel.

I recommend this book and will look forward to reading more by this author.
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For Noor, who works at the memory clinic Nepenthe, the process of reinstating their patients' memories begins to shake the moral foundations of her world. As she delves deeper into the programme, she will have to risk everything to uncover the true human cost of this miraculous technology.

An exploration of secrets, grief, identity and belonging - of the stories we tell ourselves, and come to rely on, Tell Me An Ending is a sharp, dark and devastating novel about the power and danger of memory.
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This is a long book but having said that the story moved at quite a good pace.  We are introduced to the idea of a way to erase memories along with meeting two women, Noor and Laura who work for the company behind the memory removal.  We also follow five individuals whose stories will coalesce.  This is an interesting concept which makes you ponder what would you do. Overall I enjoyed this book but wasn’t completely gripped.
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I enjoyed this book and thought the premise was interesting, particularly as someone who has PTSD from childhood abuse, I questioned myself as to whether I would have wanted to remove my childhood memories, I think the storyline managed to cover all viewpoints
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If I had read this book 10 or 20 years ago I would have labelled it as pure fantasy. Now I think it is so possible it's scary., The characters are completely diverse as are their situations and as the story unfolds, it's fascinating to discover how they got to be in the situation they were in.
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Clever and thought-provoking. 

Nepenthe is a company that erases memories - you can choose to have a memory quickly removed if you wish, either with the knowledge that you've done it, or with the memory of the event itself also wiped. However, the deletions don't seem to be permanent in everyone, and traces are coming back; Nepenthe finds itself in the position of having to inform its clients that they can have their memories restored if they so wish - but what if they don't even remember having the procedure?!

Jo Harkin populates this story with an array of interesting characters from a variety of walks of life, to explore this ethical dilemma. The whole debate is a great conversation starter, and a highly recommended read.
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I was intrigued by the premise of this book. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have the ability to remove traumatic memories and be free to live life?

The company, Nepenthe, give clients the option of knowing they've had a memory removed or having no recollection of even visiting the clinic at all. 

The author has chosen to tell the story from the perspective of Noor alternated with four of the clients- William (a cop suffering from PTSD), William, Oscar and  a teenage girl named Mei,  I felt most invested in the story told through Mei and Oscar. 

While the concept was interesting and unique, I just didn't feel compelled to keep reading. The lives of the characters didn't connect other than all using Nepenthe, so it almost felt like a compilation of short stories.

Thanks indeed to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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The premise of this book sounded intriguing & I thought I was in for a good read, but for me it didn't live up to my expectations. The way it was  told often works quite well, different character connected to the main idea is often an interesting approach. However I didn't really connect with any. I struggled over halfway when I decided life was too short! I'm sure this will appeal to many readers, but just wasn't for me. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me try to read & review this book.
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I am a massive fan of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so Tell Me An Ending really appealed to me.  I really applaud Jo Harkin for tackling something completely different and potentially controversial, and I did enjoy it at the start.  However, it just didn’t sustain that interest and did become a bit of a slog.  

Tell Me An Ending is set in a world where scientists have found a way to erase people’s memories, taking away forever the things we’ve always wanted to be able to forget.  However, now people are been giving the option to have these memories returned to them if they so wish.  Is it better to know what we’ve been through if it’s shaped who we are today?  The novel follows four main characters who are debating what to do for the best, as well as Noor, a psychologist working at a memory removal clinic, who is having her own doubts about the company she works for.  

Although five character narrative doesn’t sound a lot, it just seemed to make the plot very cluttered, and there were huge gaps between characters stories; this meant that the ones I was interested in seem to take forever to come back around.  I felt I was just starting to engage with a character then it swapped to another, which meant there was very connection made, and therefore I didn’t really care about them in the way I should have.  They didn’t really read as a singular plot, although they did eventually connect towards the end, but by then, I didn’t care.  

It was definitely thought provoking and raised some interesting discussion points, a strong contender for a book club.  However, although I thought it was a really strong idea, I was disappointed in the delivery.
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This book was just not for me. I couldn’t gel with any of the characters and found the whole story line a little disjointed. Thank you for the opportunity to read it.
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Wow, one of the best books I have read in a while. A beautifully constructed tale, which draws you into an intricate weave of seemingly unrelated people. The story is thought provoking and has a series of clever and well thought through conclusions.
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To be honest, I didn't understand this book or what it was trying to say. I found the story disjointed, parts of it didn't seem to have a satisfactory ending. It just wasn't for me in the end, I'm afraid and, as a result, I haven't reviewed it on the blog as my review would not have been particularly favourable. Overall, it just felt like a struggle.
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The book cover sets up the premise – “What if you didn’t have to live with your worst memories?” But then – if you chose to have that memory wiped, what would you do if you had the chance to get that memory back that you couldn’t remember it in the first place.

The story is set in present day given the occasional nods to popular culture – the radio in a car going to the “memory clinic” isn’t allowed the radio on in case Simple Mind’s Don’t You Forget about me comes on. And there’s obvious comparisons with ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ which the author has very cleverly referenced within the narrative.

There are two types of memory removal at play within the Nepenthe (the clinic carrying out the wipes) – Self-informeds who know that they’ve had a memory removed (usually a terrible event they’ve witnessed) and Self-confidentials that know about the memory wipe. It’s fascinating stuff, even more so when the “wiped” start experiencing ‘traces’ and it’s discovered that the worst memories are not actually gone forever and can be restored. As we go through the POVs we start to get insight into what their lives may have been – and an inkling of underhand memory wipes surfaces. It’s a sometimes bleak landscape and certainly Black-Mirror-esque.

There are other clever touches throughout. A character is described doing something for the first time in her life and 20 pages later, does that thing again… for the first time in her life. Genius.

I felt one POV could have been cut as they all seemed linked together in some way, bar one. That aside – by the conclusion you know each individual’s ending. Whether you deem them all happy will be up to you.

A solid debut novel – cleverly plotted and thought-provoking. Let's just hope fiction doesn't become fact.
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This is an intriguing book about our memories and about how we construct our life stories. The central conceit is that a clinic has opened offering clients the possibility of wiping the memories which cause post-traumatic stress. Just take a pill, think about the memory and it’s gone by the next day. What could be wrong with that? Quite a lot as it turns out.

The clinic is called Nepenthe and it offers two services. The first is where you know you’ve been there and had a memory wiped and the second is where your memory of going there is wiped as well. These treatments are called self-informed and self-confidential.

The book covers the overlapping stories of several people who have had this treatment knowingly or unknowingly and it starts with clients who have recurring traces of memories which should have been wiped. Mei, who was adopted from a Chinese orphanage, begins to have memories of Amsterdam but as far as she knows she’s never been there. Other people have started legal action against Nepenthe and the clinic has been forced to offer the restoration of memories which were taken away. Louise is a senior member of staff and she is trying to discourage old clients from taking up the offer but when you realise that she is also the mother of Mei you start to see the complications!

There’s a parallel story about a couple called Finn and Mirande and another one about a young man called Oscar. There is also the story of Noor who works at the clinic and her illicit relationship with a client. The book gets a bit confusing here but the linking theme is that they all had memories erased and not necessarily for the best reasons.

There’s quite a lot happening now and you sense that the clinic is in serious trouble as these different stories unravel but there’s lots left for you, as the reader, to think about. It’s a bit more than whether you might have wanted to have a traumatic event erased from your brain. It’s also about how you would feel if you found out that someone, maybe acting in your best interests allegedly, had arranged for you to have a memory removed which you would never even remember as a procedure. And, then again, it makes you think about the nature of memory and how people deal with challenging events in their lives in different ways.

It’s a good read, even if the plot unfolds in too many directions and, by the end, you know that putting things right is not going to be easy because, once the genie is out of the bottle, memory wiping would be here to stay!
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In this speculative fiction debut we are told the story of four ‘patients’ who have had their memories removed or are looking to have removed at Nepenthe, a clinic that can erase them for good.

Each part of the book is told from each of their viewpoints and also from Noor who works in aftercare once the procedure has been carried out.

It’s a really interesting premise for a novel and I found it reflective to think how much of your memory makes you who you are.

I liked how the characters were somewhat linked, although loosely, and how by the end we find out what was erased and what effect this had on their individual psyches.

Utterly thought provoking; if this technology was available to us today, what would we want to forget and what would others want us to forget? What would people hide and would some use it to cover up events that they wanted forgotten for the greater good even if it was morally wrong?
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I felt disappointed that this book did not quite live up to its possibilities.

The concept of having memories erased to the point where you don't even know they have been and then, at a later date, being given the choice to reinstate that memory without having any clue as to what it might have been is certainly a fascinating one. Would you want the memory back knowing that it may have been something really bad and would others in your life want to know what they were?

I found the story too long winded and it ended up just being a boring read for me.
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This is a really interesting book that uses a unique idea to look at more usual themes. The basic plot is that a series of unrelated characters have used a company called Nepenthe, which erases memories. It offers two different procedures - one where the person is aware they've had a "wipe" and another where the person is unaware.

But legal wrangling and signs that memories can resurface has forced Nepenthe to have to offer to restore memories to those it has treated. This raises the question of whether they are better off not knowing whatever it was that had caused them trauma, and whether simply 'deleting' a memory actually deals with the underlying trauma.

It's a really great read. And the variety of characters means there is probably someone, or some experience, that everyone can relate to a little.

We see people struggling with mental health problems and the impact this has on their relationships and those around them. I especially liked the ex-cop character, whose name I have ironically forgotten, who is suffering panic attacks and anxiety, but refuses to discuss it with his wife. Although it's not so much that he can't discuss it, as that he has no idea what to say.

The descriptions of how he tries to keep his children interested in him on visits were very touching and probably something all parents can relate to as they grapple with children growing up and managing much more without them.

I also liked Oscar, who appears to be on the run although we have no idea from what. Oscar is a kind of celebrity patient, and all his details are top secret. But when we learn the memories he has had deleted, it's heartbreaking. The author's descriptions of his childhood life before his traumatic event made me cry.

There are other questions thrown in for other characters in the book - such as did someone have an affair which means a child has a different father to the one they have grown up with. Louise, who works at Nepenthe, is a great character as we view her from the perspective of Noor, another employee.

Noor is in awe of Louise. But when we meet her daughter, and see some of her seemingly suspicious actions at the clinic, we question what Louise's motivations and character really are. The descriptions from her daughter of living with what looks to her as a controlling mother were great. It left the reader wondering whether Louise has her child's best interests at heart, or if she is really looking out for herself.

The star of the book I guess, who I have only briefly referred to, is Noor. The story of Nepenthe is largely told through her, and she's a fantastic example of a character who obviously feels she is one of life's failures in many ways. She is regularly worrying that she will lose her job or mess up in some way. It's good to read about the situation from the view of the underdog.

I would definitely recommend this book. It's a fascinating plot and at the same time a heartfelt examination of how grief and loss have long-lasting effects. And although there is sadness in it, there is a lot of funny, caustic dialogue too.
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Very complicated book with an interesting base but oh it just lost me. I hate it when I’m just longing to get to the end of a book. Perhaps the title of the book should be the title of my review!
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What if you could erase a terrible memory that overshadows your very existence and just move on with your life? Well in Jo Harkin's hotly anticipated Tell Me An Ending you can. You can chose to change your life or have it remain exactly the same by removing traumatic memories. But what happens when things don't go exactly to plan?
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My thanks to NetGalley and Random House publishing for the opportunity to review this book.
I really struggled with the first 75% of the book. Loosing track of who the characters were and the storyline surrounding them. So much that at times it was a chore to pick up the Kindle.
However in the remaining 25% of the book I was gripped. I loved the way everything came together.
I’m sure the writing style is just down to personal preference and there are readers out there who would 100% love this book.
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