Kassa's Reviews > Persistence of Memory

Persistence of Memory by J.M. Snyder
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's review
Aug 19, 2009

really liked it

In this futuristic, post apocalyptic world, the government has instituted a non-voluntary draft where those who are chosen are plucked from their homes and turned into soldiers. Part of this process, called culling, is to insert a microchip that will erase the new soldier’s past. They don’t remember their name, past, or history – they become nothing more than a number tattooed on their wrist. All they remember are the military lessons they are told. It also acts as a security device, delivering a high powered shriek if a person manages to escape. Think of a dog collar but as a microchip.

When Joah was culled, he managed to hang onto one piece of information - his name. Armed with this, he somehow knew he had a life beyond the military facility. He couldn’t remember that life or the person he was but he had a name, proving to him even if he couldn’t remember that life, it had existed. After five years as a soldier, he eventually manages to escape the training facility and wanders wounded and exhausted through the woods. He collapses at the first house his directionless wanderings bring him to, almost literally at his husband, Tobin’s, shocked feet.

Tobin and Joah are sweet, hopeful characters against the backdrop of pain and angst surrounding the world. Their love was inevitable, both as children and again when Joah returns. Although Joan has no memory of their marriage, life, friends or the deep love they shared; Tobin’s strength is demonstrated time and time again in his refusal to let Joah’s lack of memory depress him. But truly it is Joah who shines in this short, lovely story. Even through the lack of memory, he wants to love Tobin. He happily allows Tobin to become his entire life, his past, his present and his future. Their relationship is the epitome of hope beyond the barren depression that makes up the landscape of this time.

The futuristic backdrop was well done, although immaterial. There were some problems with the supporting characters, as the ease of the story stuttered when the background characters moved too much into Tobin and Joah’s sphere. This story is the romance between Tobin and Joah, which not only survives but also grows with each obstacle. Imagine loving someone so much you fall in love with them three times, even if you can’t remember each time before. Snyder has a classic romantic style that lends a lovely quality to her writing. The characters are well done and those who love hopeful, tender romances with well-written characters will enjoy the majority of Snyder’s work. This wasn’t my favorite of Snyder’s but I can see why it’s a fan favorite.
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