This concept is brilliant. I adored this book. I liked the story so much, that I’m actually going to tell you about the concept, which I rarely do.
Nadia lives inside the walls of Canaan, where every 12 years, The Forgetting comes, and complete chaos ensues. Think fear, violence, and complete panic. Think babies abandoned to cry in the street, while their mothers stand off to the side. Think absolute confusion. Sheer terror. Traumatic accidents and strong emotions that lead to violence. Bewilderment, mistrust, and isolation.
Before The Forgetting, it’s a day of no remorse, which brings out the best and worst in people, but by the end of the day, nobody remembers anything. Every part of their identities is gone in an instant: their names, their families, their friends, what they love, what they think, what they do, their biggest accomplishments, their greatest mistakes. Everything.
Some people feel it’s a blessing, a chance to start again. Others feel it’s an opportunity to commit any sort of crime or revenge, for which there will never be a punishment. Some feel a deep loss, but it is hard to mourn the loss of something that you can’t even remember.
In the span of a Canaan day, all is lost, and when The Forgetting passes, the only resources people have to help explain what has happened, who they are, and how to survive, are their personal books of truth, which they must carry with themselves at all times.
Obviously, there are a few catches (potential spoilers ahead, so if you prefer to read a book knowing as little as possible, you might want to stop reading here):
1. If you don’t have your book, you become one of the lost, fated to a miserable life (or perhaps death). You will never know who you are, or who you have been, and nobody else will either. The lost are blamed for their fate and separated from society, as everyone is taught to write truths at all times and to never part with their book.
2. People try to cheat the system before The Forgetting comes by changing truths or writing lies in their books (and/or in other people’s books). For 12 years, you may have been happily (or so you thought) married to John, but after The Forgetting, if your books says your husband Adam died years before, you become an immediate widow.
2.5. Sometimes, people even try to steal or destroy someone else’s book, so that person becomes part of the lost.
3. Supposedly everyone forgets, but in true dystopian fashion (SPOILER ALERT)– du du duhnnnn— Not everyone forgets, though nobody has ever admitted to remembering.
This book is fascinating and intense from start to finish.