In the near future, Jon Grebbel arrives on the colony world of Janus, and finds himself mysteriously without memory of his life on Earth. It seems that the journey has caused severe memory loss in many of Janus's colonists. While Grebbel wants to start his new life, he also wants his memory back, and starts treatments to restore his past. But they only leave him angry and disturbed and he begins to doubt the glimpses of the past the treatments reveal. Grebbel meets Elinda, an earlier arrival, whose lover, Barbara, vanished and then was found lying in the woods, apparently brain-damaged. Elinda has also lost her memories of Earth, but unlike him she has abandoned the effort to recover them. Now their meeting brings each of them a glimpse of an experience they shared back on Earth. Investigating Barbara's fate and their own, the two find their love and their search for justice turning toward bitter self-discovery and revenge, even as they begin to uncover the darkness at the heart of their world.
Ottawa native Park takes on the nature-versus-nurture debate with a novel of identities lost and regained on a far-flung world. Jon Grebbel is dropped on the human colony world of Janus, where he struggles to reclaim the memories that he's been told he lost during his journey. His first real contact on Janus, Elinda, is chasing a mystery of her own: her lover has been found brain-damaged but otherwise unscathed in the forest, and lost memories might have been involved. Meanwhile, the colony heaves with unrest over the rumor that it's been used as a dumping ground for memory-wiped psychopaths. As Jon and Elinda explore the colony, they discover a shared past and some dark secrets that propel them in opposite directions. Less interested in world-building than the question of whether we are more than the sums of our memories, Park rushes the story to its conclusion. Though the book is at times graceful and engaging, it feels like it could have been much more. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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September 25, 2012
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