The Last Witness
When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.
Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I've ever mastered. But now, I'm holding so many memories I'm not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more.
Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I'm trying to bury......more
I know I can be quite picky when it comes to short stories and novellas, and in fact there was a time in my life where I simply avoided them all together. I’m big on the immersive reading experience which is something longer novels are in a better position to provide, not to mention characters are also very important to me but it’s less likely I can connect to them when the story is over in a blink of an eye.
But every once ...more
Unreliable Memories: "The Last Witness" by K. J. Parker/Tom Holt
“I’ve been told I have an unforgettable face. Ironic, really.
I have a gift; I can browse through the library of your mind and remove individual memories. You’ll never know I was there, and you’ll never miss what was taken. Useful for grieving widowers, more so for ambitious politicians.
But I’m holding so many memories I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine.
They are beautifully written, fast paced and just the perfect length.
This one in particular had characters I really did not like, so spending a full novel with them may have been quite honestly torture, but this short, to the point story and powerful message was just about right.
What kind of person would you have to be in order to agree to do such a thing? What kind of person would the agglomeration of these memories make you?
If you answered, "not a very nice person," you would most likely be correct, says K.J. Parker.
The marketing of this novella ...more
A person who can erase memories, see your past and learn stuff from it? SIGN ME IN!
Psychic powers, I love books about them. However, combine them with realism and horror and my brain melts with pleasure! God, the way this is written is just brilliant! You will ask yourself - is this happening now, or is the protagonist experiencing a memory of someone else? Does the character know this person, or is it a familiar face from someone else's past. Which reminds me- You can't trust the ...more
The Last Witness by K. J. Parker is dark and deceitful, yet addictive novella. These two aspects are spun together for a truly fascinating story and one hell of a protagonist that you might not like, but you can’t help but want to know more about. It’s a book that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of humanity, it actually relishes in it. I’ve only read one other book by Parker, but I feel this story was every bit as intriguing as The Folding Knife and ...more
The narrative style is peculiar, since the whole story is the presentation of the protagonist’s reminiscences which also incorporate the memories of several other people and as such, not only it’s ...more
overall well done and with the final ...more
The narrator is, of course, unreliable. He’s unreliable even to ...more
We heard all about you, the old man said, the stuff you can do. Is it true? Depends what you’ve heard, I told him. Most of what people say about me is garbage.
I don’t know how I do it, I told them, and neither does anyone else. None of the professors at the Studium could explain it. According to them, it’s not possible. All I know is, I can see my way into someone’s head—literally, I stare at him hard, and the ...more
The unnamed main character has the ability to take memories out of people's heads and place them in his own. He uses this ability to his advantage and profit. But he also has total recall, and many of the memories he gains this way are deeply traumatic. Murders, rapes and torture on both sides of the coin. He earns ...more
I'm not sure what I can say about this book without spoilers!
The narrator has a unique ability: he can go into someone else's head and take a memory out of it. He's made this his profession, so generally he's taking a memory someone has chosen to have removed. But not always.
The taken memories become part of him. And as time goes on and he collects more and more other people's memories, it’s not easy to remember what memories really belong to him, and which don’t.
And what if his ...more
I admire Parker's writing style and his intellectual and philosophical escapades. That being said, The Last Witness didn't awe me.
The nameless narrator has a gift (or a curse) to remove and assimilate people’s memories. Because of the eidetic memory he possesses, he’s doomed to live with all the memories he takes away from others (including several awful crimes, rape, trauma).
As expected from Parker, the unreliable narrator uses his ability to hide his disgraceful past from both himself ...more
Also: still can't believe this guy is pun-lover Tom Holt.
Don't really have much else to say about it... or maybe I already forgot it, if you get what I'm saying.
This is a fantastic and interesting little tale, which packs a LOT into it's relatively short format, while somehow not feeling rushed or crowded. The prose in this one is smooth, more in a full-novel format than many novellas, which makes it a fairly easy read, and the pages just fly by.
The premise is very interesting - the last witness has the power to enter someone's mind, and remove memories; unwanted in most cases, but this power is vast, ...more
Thoroughly enjoyed this unusual, intriguing story. Although not listed yet on GR I listened to an audible version read very well indeed by P J Ochran. He became exactly how I imagined the chilling first person narrator would be and I believe in this instance the audible version is better than reading the book.
It has been suggested the main character was ...more
A first person narration by an individual who has a strange ability - to be able to enter a person’s memory and extract components, small or large, from that memory as though they were scrolls in a library. After discovering this ‘gift’ he tries to make a living from it, extracting memories from people who willingly want to forget, and sometimes unwillingly from others. ...more
I received an egalley of this novella from the publisher for review. Thank you to Tor.com Publishing! This review is my honest opinion.
The Last Witness is probably an excellent litmus test for whether you can enjoy a story even if the main character is an incredibly amoral, unlikable asshole. In my case, the answer is yes... I absolutely can enjoy that type of story, when done well!
A man discovers he can see into other people's heads, pluck memories from their mental library shelves, and...more
The Last Witness is the journal-style narrative of a man whose only natural skill is memory-thieving: he can look inside your head, take a memory from you and keep it for himself, remembering it as though it were his own. This practice serves to muddle an already-delicate ...more
The Last Witness by K.J. Parker was an excellent novella that I absolutely loved. This is my first experience with K.J. Parker but it will not be my last as this is one of my favorite reads of 2017. It is a fantasy novella about a guy who can remove the memories of other people and gain those memories for himself. This can take a toll on him because he has a hard time distinguishing between what happened to him and what happened to other people. He ...more
A lot of the reviews mention how evil the main character is, and yeah, he's pretty ...more
The protagonist of this book, nameless, has the gift to take away memories and has made a business of it. In the course of the story, he philosophises on the impact of memory as the source of history as well as the nature of truth.
After all, what is truth but the consensus of memories of reliable witnesses
is only one of the many quotable phrases that make you really think about what ...more
What would it do to a man to have the ability to erase people's memories? To be able to pluck specific ones like plucking a lone feather from a peacock or to remove the totality of a person's memories leaving him a tabula rasa. But what is removed must be transferred somewhere. Whatever he takes, he takes into his own memories. Too many memories can get jumbled together, blurring the line between his own and those appropriated from others. I am fascinated by the concept of memory and ...more
According to the biographical notes in some of Parker's books, Parker has previously worked in law, journalism, and numismatics, and now writes and makes things out of wood and metal. It is also claimed that Parker is married to a solicitor and now lives in southern England. According to an autobiographical note, Parker was raised in rural Vermont, a ...more