Cinematic, unusual and at times uneasy, My Memories of a Future Life is the story of what happens when Carol is diagnosed with RSI and told she cannot play piano for at least the next six months, a decision that sees her questioning an identity that had until then been linked intrinsically with her piano playing.
Confused, angry and alienated, Carol ends up accompanying her friend Jerry on an adventure to find the source of his panic attacks; a past life regression that seems to suggest he had once been a woman named Ruby Cunningham, murdered by Jack the Ripper in 1888.
Cynical and suspicious, Carol seeks solace in her own strange and sinister course of hypnotherapy.
Guided by Gene, she encounters Andreq, a ‘soothesayer’ living under the sea in a fascinating futuristic world.
It’s unclear whether Andreq is a future incarnation of Carol, created and controlled by Gene, or an inadvertent creation of Carol’s troubled subconscious.
Then the local weirdos start vying to get involved, and the novel gets progressively darker as it all takes its psychological, spiritual and emotional toll on Carol.
Although occasionally clumsy and confusing, My Memories of a Future Life is a strange and stubborn book, one that will stay with you long after finishing its final pages.
Original and odd, the writing is by turns visual and visceral (I especially loved the description of RSI as “a feeling like my arms were long gloves stroked by wire brushes…as though my nerves were a crackling storm”), and I’ll be curious to see what Roz will write next.
Recommended for: Lovers of literary fiction and classical music, and anyone intrigued by the idea of past and future lives.
Other recommended reading: This was a tricky one, because My Memories of a Future Life is so unsettlingly odd and original that it’s in a class all of its own. But for another tale of love and loss across time and space, try The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.