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You Will Never Be Forgotten: Stories

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  538 ratings  ·  105 reviews
In this provocative, bitingly funny debut collection, people attempt to use technology to escape their uncontrollable feelings of grief or rage or despair, only to reveal their most flawed and human selves

An architect draws questionable inspiration from her daughter's birth defect. A content moderator for "the world's biggest search engine," who spends her days culling vi
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Fsg Originals
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  538 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Emily B
Jun 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this collection. I can’t put my finger on exactly why but they were my cup of tea for sure. I loved their modernity their unusualness and slightly absurdness. A clever collection for sure
I had wanted to read Mary South's debut collection of stories since first hearing about the US edition, and was delighted to discover the book had found a UK publisher. What I'd read about Forgotten – such as the blurb, which says the stories involve people attempting 'to use technology to escape their uncontrollable feelings of grief or rage or despair' – had given me the impression it would be near-future soft science fiction in the vein of Alexander Weinstein. The opening story seems to have ...more
This collection was very much not for me – and I had been close to just putting it down, when the third story (Frequently Asked Questions About Your Craniotomy) was just brilliant and I spent the rest of my reading time chasing that high (which never came). South takes already uncomfortable premises and somehow makes them worse – and I do not like fiction that makes me feel like I need to take a shower. I admit that this is very much a me-thing and looking at other reviews made that very clear – ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 rounded down

The stories I enjoyed in this collection were great, and South's writing shows a lot of promise. But too many of them left me wanting more from the plot and feeling dissatisfied. (It's also always unfortunate when the short stories you enjoy are towards the front of the book...)

I'd suggest reading the titular story to see if this'll be your thing, and despite my misgivings I suspect many readers will love this selection of offbeat stories.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Our lives are upside down because of Internet and social media. Not bad, not good. Just upside down.
Emma Eisenberg
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, smart sexy story collection. A fascinating and modern look at how we live now
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve never felt more connected than I do right now, at this very moment. In fact, I’m currently carrying three different conversations of varying significance (medium, high, low) about three different topics (dinner, shoes, headlines) with three different people (wife, brother, co-worker) across three different platforms (iMessage, Instagram, Microsoft Teams). And that’s barely even scratching the surface as to the amount of ways I’m communicating with others these days.

Meanwhile, I’ve yet to l
"Accustomed to spending such long intervals in echoed spaces, we both tended to forget how the essence of work lingered with us."

You Will Never Be Forgotten is an ambitious, timely collection of short stories that, at its heart, is about relationships: between caretakers and patients, mothers and daughters, interviewers and interviewees, the dead and the bereft. Throughout the collection, these relationships take on different inflections as they intersect with their particular settings. "The Age
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Unsettling. Couldn't even pause for a second to gather my thoughts. ...more
“In the modern world, you might be easily forgotten, but you could also carve out your own niche.” In the 10 stories of this debut collection, characters turn to technology to stake a claim on originality, compensate for their losses, and leave a legacy. In “Keith Prime,” a widowed nurse works at a warehouse that produces unconscious specimens for organ harvesting. When her favorite Keith wakes up, she agrees to raise him at home, but human development and emotional connection are inconveniences ...more
Jessica Klahr
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am confident this will be my favorite story collection of the year. These are my favorite kinds of stories where the author observed something odd or absurd about society and flips it or enlarged it and runs with it. A lot of the press for this book said it focused on technology, but really there were only a couple stories that fit that bill. I found myself being so impressed with this author’s imagination as I was going through these stories and I can’t wait to see what she would do with a no ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Edgy and contemporary. Good collection if a bit scary.
Emma Jessie
Apr 05, 2021 rated it did not like it
This book was such a pain to get through. I hate not finishing books as I really want to give them a full chance, but this one just did not get better... at all. The entire book felt disturbingly disconnected from the author and rather impersonal. Rather than feeling the author’s heart and soul in this book, we instead see pretty much everything that’s in vogue right now. It was as if she was trying to check off all the boxes as to what’s chic in modern lit. This book painstakingly reminded me o ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover does nothing to prepare you for the contents. It’s such a reductively simplistic cover for such a complex and interesting collection. Then again, the last few pages are pure praise for it from respected authors, so maybe this is a book best judged by its rear end.
This was a fairly random selection for me from the library’s latest digital acquisitions. On par with a number of short story collections I’ve read recently in both tone and mood, this one dissects the technologically cripple
May 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2021
I liked these stories, but didn't love them. As with much short fiction, they often left me feeling like I must have missed something. Stories without actual endings drive me a bit crazy.

This collection still rates at least 3 stars, though. It has interesting characters and some very unique situations in which they find themselves. I don't know that I'd recommend reading it, but I wouldn't try to talk anyone out of reading it, either. Mostly, I just think, "meh".
Rachel León
delightfully weird and well-written (such a great combo)
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, funneh
Odd short stories are extremely my jam, and Mary South's are kind of Black-Mirror-meets-early-George-Saunders weird - stories that explore societal constructions through a technological lens. South does go a little deeper into these explorations than I feel other writers of short stories like this do. Her premises are out there, but they aren't the whole point of the story. ...more
Uriel Perez
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A remarkable collection in almost every way. The stories feel familiar and original at the same time, imbued with internet lingo and touchingly morbid.
Thoroughly weird stories. Here is a relatively normal sentence within these fictional worlds: "Maddy doesn't appear entirely human as she stands up to her crotch in the Mediterranean." Time, bodies, relationships have different rules of engagement here. Also, very funny. ...more
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i woulda given this 5 stars even if i didn’t know mary irl, it rules
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-stories
Contrary to the Goodreads blurb about this book, the collection of ten largely unsentimental short stories is hardly “bitingly funny.” While two were fairly humorous, the rest were bleak portrayals of alienation and of technology and its outsize place in our world today: Can it serve effectively as a countermeasure to our emotional pain or does it merely enhance it? It’s strange having read the book in the midst of a global pandemic when we’ve come to rely so heavily on technology to meet our da ...more
James R.
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don’t typically enjoy short story collections. The shorter format makes it harder to get absorbed in a story and jumping from one to another can feel disorienting. I’m glad I put aside my reservations and have Mary South’s collection a chance. I was rewarded by a range of stories that were a pleasure to read.

The stories vary in subject but there is a consistency across them that’s hard to pin down. Each has a similar feel, like they exist in that same world as each other which is much like our
mia difelice
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
You Will Never Be Forgotten is a combination of the domestic, political, and futuristic -- at turns playful and disturbing, irreverent and deeply human. The premises are wild, sometimes upsetting, always thought-provoking, and deeply steeped on our current moment. They demand us to consider "What if, What if, What if?" through the lenses of characters flawed and yearning.

A deadpan voice suffuses all of the stories, making them compulsively readable. Even when one element -- character, tone, plo
Carey Calvert
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
... in a collection of off kilter stories combining connection non plussed, Mary South saves if not the best for last; not setsuko was the most page turner compelling. If only because, when compared to the others, it was hard charging, anticipatory.

It's been my experience that short story collections simmer, boil, then fade - a lukewarm morass of hotdog water.

Not this one.

Other than the eponymous short ("The rapist is such an inspiration that he started a newsletter to share his story"), You Wi
Ellie Hawkes
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
South’s stories fall broadly under the umbrella of ‘speculative fiction’, positing a future not too far from our own, examining the ways in which scientific and technological advances might bring to the fore some of our darker impulses. In this way it reminded me a lot of the brilliant TV series Black Mirror: it seems to share the same awareness that it is not the technology itself that causes the damage, but our very natures. And like Black Mirror, each story has its own distinctive style, expe ...more
David Saslav
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant new anthology of short stories that evolve the art of storytelling in beautiful and challenging ways for our new “dystopian fiction has been moved to the non-fiction section” world. Not least in “To Save the Universe, We Must Also Save Ourselves” — written in the first-person plural voice by some kind of imagined, self-appointed female spokesperson for a fanfic group of “alternate universe Trekkies”.

But perhaps South’s most compelling work, and the one that drew me to South as a shor
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
These stories are great front to back. And more than that, they really fit together, and follow one another, logically. I don't mean that the collection is comprised of linked stories or anything that contrived --- no, these are stories confronting a ubiquitous sense of, I dunno, technological malaise from a variety of perspectives.

Work --- in particular the often bleak, thankless work of late-stage capitalism (medical work, artistic work, contract work, etc.) --- is one of the elements that mo
Melanie (Perpetually Reading)
This book started out quite strong with intriguing stories that made me feel uneasy, uncomfortable (in a good way). But after the halfway point it started to get a little dry, and I ended up having to push myself through to the end. The stories in the latter half seemed a bit too complain-y and read like a story of a social complaint rather than social commentary. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because I feel like I've read more unsettling stories than these, and the last half of the book really just ...more
Megan Carlson
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
South's stories are the best thing I've read in years. Highlights for me were: "Frequently Asked Questions About Your Craniotemy," "Age of Love," "Not Setsuko," and "You Will Never Be Forgotten."

Other reviews have probably focused on the interplay of technology, humanity & alienation present in South's work-- which is the sexy stuff right now-- but the work also delves into the complicated roles mothers play, the manifestations of grief, the shortcomings of our romantic relationships, the limita
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"We so easily take the basics for granted," South observes in "Keith Prime," her opening short in YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. Yet in this first story, nothing is basic--and nothing is taken for granted, either. South intentionally explores the grief of losing a person part by part; we might deliver the most desperate care, but we cannot save them. Warehouses, war, ovens left on: South's imagery is bold, ironic.

"Aging has something to do with the buildup of damage," she notes. This damage--from
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Book Club: You Will Never Be Forgotten 1 3 Apr 14, 2021 10:37AM  

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Mary South is the author of YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN, which was a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize and longlisted for The Story Prize. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Guernica, NOON, and elsewhere.

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