Cover Image: Tell Me an Ending

Tell Me an Ending

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really wanted to like this book, the premise sounded so very interesting. But the writing suffocated my enthusiasm, it sounded nearly unrealistic, and I couldn't get into it. I kept rewriting the sentences in my head. 

I would still recommend the book to someone who's looking for a "Black Mirror"-type book, but as for myself, I had a hard time finishing it. I am not closing the door on the author, but I think I will wait before picking up another book from them.
Was this review helpful?
Eternal Sunshine is one of my all-time favorite movies so when I read the synopsis of this book I knew I had to read it. Overall, I really liked it. It's an interesting and, to me, seemingly realistic way this would unfold if it were to really happen. Corruption, behind-the-scenes deals, secrets from a lot of people, and many left confused and hurt. The layout of the book made the characters a little confusing for me at first which took me out of the story. I liked that we had perspectives from every type of person this procedure has an effect on, even from an employee. Overall, I enjoyed this book both for being like Eternal Sunshine and a small breath of fresh air in books that are coming out.
I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The mind is such a fascinating subject — I feel like it’s similar to the ocean in that there’s so much we don’t know about it and so much left to explore. The premise of this book — what if you could remove your worst memories — sets you up very well for the story. It’s sad, and interesting and a great study on people’s choices. I loved how all the characters intertwined, and how the writer managed to imbue the whole book with the grief and uncertainty that so many of them were feeling. Also, if you’re thinking to yourself “hey, that sounds like Eternal Sunshine,” yes, the author cleverly referenced the movie.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent and thought-provoking. This book really explores what it means to be human and what role our memories play in that process. I highly recommend this title to anyone interested in speculative fiction.
Was this review helpful?
Sometime in the future, there’s a company called Nepenthe. It has the ability to wipe memories. Would you get rid of your worst kept memories? Better yet, if you found out you had… would you choose to get it back? 

This is several people’s stories, from several different points of view - all coming together at the last possible second. Oscar, William, Mirande, and Mei have a decision to make about their memories and whether or not the lives they’ve been living, with a sinking feeling that something is missing, is better or worse than whatever it is they wiped.

This book is hard to rate. It was simply one big mystery 99% of the time. My desire to read it came and went - which is why it took me so long to get through it. I think I did enjoy it, or at the very least I enjoyed not knowing; not being able to guess. 

*thank you NetGalley for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review*
Was this review helpful?
TELL ME AN ENDING broaches the philosophical question of whether our memories define us, or we define our memories.  It questions whether we can truly be ourselves if we wipe the experiences that influence our daily perceptions and decisions. This dystopian fiction follows the lives of four characters who eventually realize they or a loved one had agreed to remove certain memories. As they grapple with this knowledge they must decide whether to recover those memories, a choice fraught with potential mental health implications.

The author writes each perspective casually, like a stream of consciousness.  Thankfully there is proper punctuation and sentence structure. I don't think I would have been able to read it otherwise as this is not typically a writing style I prefer. Overall, though, I think it works well since it shows how each character processes the world around them while feeling as if something isn't quite right.  It enables us to see how they try to cope with the sudden knowledge that a piece of themselves is missing.

Meanwhile, Noor, an employee of Nepenthe, begins to question the memory company's true motives. Noor is not very emotive and avoids social interaction if she can help it, which makes her perfect for a company like Nepenthe. Do your job, avoid emotional investment, repeat.  But protesters alleging a cover up and several other events cause Noor to wonder what Nepenthe actually cares about: their patients' happiness or their bottom dollar.  It's worth noting that there is some sapphic representation in Noor's story, but the focus remains on the dystopia unfolding in her life.

While the concept of this novel was intriguing, I felt at times it dragged on a bit.  I thought it was important to provide different characters' perspectives to show why someone might remove a memory.  But I thought the inner exploration of the reason behind their decision lacking in some cases.  One character's journey just flat out ended and I was confused about why there wasn't one last chapter about that person.  I also found the explanation of the procedure behind the memory removal unconvincing.  I don't expect the science to be down pat; but I think either omitting or fully comitting to it would have enhanced the dystopian vibes. 

However, TELL ME AN ENDING does offer a glimpse into what life might be like if we had the choice to wipe certain pieces of ourselves.  Would wiping a memory cause us to lose a piece of the puzzle, our whole selves?  Or could it actually improve one's life, assuming no trace of the (usually traumatic) original memory resurfaces?
Was this review helpful?
Uggghhhh I had such high hopes for this one, but they fell short. The concept was promising, but this book felt neither plot nor character driven, and I just couldn’t stay engaged. It was more like a tied-together collection of shot stories than a novel, but even that felt thin.
Was this review helpful?
This is called a thriller, and parts of it do qualify. I'd file it in the science fiction part of my library because I think that's where it belongs. It concerns memory formation, or what we think memory formation is. 
Nepenthe is a cutting edge clinic that deals with memories. Our current method of dealing with bad memories, the ones that bother us, is either suppressing them or talking about them. Neither technique is all that effective, but it's all we have. What if we could remove those memories from our brains? More than just forgetting them, actually getting rid of them completely. Wouldn't that be best? Is it even possible? Why is it only bad memories that people want to eliminate? These are some of the questions this book had me thinking about. 
We meet several people in this story. Each is or has been dealing with a bad memory. Some find holes in their memories. Some have fragments that don't match anything else. Some contemplate having memories removed. Some are making money off removed memories. 
The biggest problem I had with this book is the idea each memory is concrete and resides in a discreet place in the brain. My reading in current brain science tells a different story. And then there is the problem of overlap. Say I was in a terrible accident. A friend was killed in the accident. I didn't cause the accident. I'm having trouble moving past the accident and it's effecting my mental health. Removing the my memory of the accident would make me feel better. So we remove it. How then so I understand that my friend is no longer there? That's overlap, and it's part of the reason why the clinic failed.
Like I said, parts of the book are a very interesting thriller. I had to suppress my questions about the mechanics of the memory removal, but I did enjoy the rest of the book.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting premise that ultimately fell flat for me.  The plot and characters were interesting enough to get me to finish the book, but I wasn't racing back to the novel when I had to put it down.  Its written almost like short stories and I think it would have been better formatted as separate stories pulled together with one conclusive story at the end.  As presented I found the storylines for each character hard to follow as we bounced from one to the other.  Might not be an issue if I was engaged and read it more straight through.
Was this review helpful?
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” gets a modern update with a “Black Mirror” twist in Jo Harkin’s debut speculative novel, “Tell Me an Ending.” This isn’t the first novel of its kind on the market. Still, it explores the most exciting question: “who are we, if not memories?” 

A worldwide notification sends thousands of people into shock–a message claiming they once chose to have a memory removed by the leading memory company Nepenthe. Per a lawsuit, each patient is allowed to reverse the procedure and regain the memory previously released. 

We follow a cast of 5 wildly different characters through their daily lives and their relationship to memory. Mei, a struggling college dropout in Kuala Lumpur, dreams of a city she’s never visited. A former British police officer, William regularly attends therapy but can’t remember the profoundly traumatic event that sent him there. Finn, an Irish architect, suspects his wife is having an affair she can’t remember. Oscar, a charismatic young man, wanders the world with no memories–running away from something or someone he doesn’t know. Noor, a psychologist at Nepenthe, grows suspicious of the memory removal process and risks her career to uncover the secrets woven into the company's foundation. 

I’m a fan of flip-flopping narratives that connect later on. Still, only a few of the characters are loosely connected. This weak narrative never pushed the characters toward anything–no purpose, theme, or development was at the end of the tunnel. Their inner thoughts and existential dilemmas of the suppressed memories are exciting and sparingly incorporate philosophical musings about the self and identity. Still, the weak narrative drags the novel along. 

Philosophical musings can often feel too high-brow for the average reader (and are usually the bane of my existence). Harkin lovingly weaves philosophy into each character’s lives–forcing readers to face their own morality and ponder their existence. Grief, guilt, trauma, memory, and identity are explored in an impressive and melancholic light throughout the novel. 

With all of the musings and weak narratives, the ending felt unfinished and disappointingly anti-climatic “Tell Me an Ending.” The concept was reminiscent of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Still, it lacked the finesse and pacing that makes it a masterpiece. 

Compelling and evocative, “Tell Me an Ending” slowly ponders who we are and the morals of memory. Although not quite hitting the mark, Harkin’s style and philosophical musings force readers to explore their own existence and memory.
Was this review helpful?
Very interesting premise, but I just couldn't get into this book. I didn't find any of the characters or their accompanying stories interesting and they all just drug along very sluggishly. The only character I was really interested in was Noor. I felt like there was too much "fluff" in each character's chapters and it wasn't necessary to the plot and was, unfortunately, boring.

Only completed about 67% of the book before I decided to move on.
Was this review helpful?
The book didn't feel cohesive.  The stories (4 different characters plus Noor) felt disjointed and slow.  I don't think our usual readers will enjoy.  The premise is really interesting, though.

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Tell Me an Ending is a thoroughly enjoyable "literary" speculative fiction read that should have wide appeal. Each of the individual character POVs is equally engaging, something that's a bit tricky to pull off, and they are all woven together in a way that makes sense and is subtle enough. The concept of choosing to erase painful memories is obviously not new to the genre, but this take on it works well. It focuses on a specific (imagined) corporate/community context at a time when this new memory erasure technology has started to become normalized, so it doesn't place all its emphasis on the "would you? wouldn't you?" type question. One of my more memorable reads of early 2022.
Was this review helpful?
Quite an interesting and unique storyline. The beginning truly held promise for me, and I know others have enjoyed it. For me, the style of writing and the back and forth confuses me, I wasn't able to follow the conversations well, and ultimately I gave up.

Perhaps it was simply the Kindle version and typographic errors. Regardless, I couldn't progress. The story line holds merit, this I will give 3 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Tell Me An Ending is a sci-fi thriller that explores the value and ethics of a new technology, one that allows certain memories to be removed. For example, someone is involved in a tragic incident that haunts them, perhaps gives them PTSD,  or survivor guilt. They can remove the parts of the incident that haunt them, knowing that such a thing happened to them, but not having the visceral memories. Others can have it completely removed, including the knowledge that something happened or even that they had a memory removed. This story follows people who are seeking or have had the procedure as a lawsuit forces the company to allow people to get those memories back, if they want them.

One of the people is Noor, who works for the company and who begins to suspect she is being set up to take the fall for higher-ups who have been dishonest. Another is a former police officer who wants a memory excised but is prohibited because cops, even those who left the service, are required to retain their memory in case they are required to testify. Another person is Mei, a recent college drop-out who is struggling with traces, scenes appearing that she has no memory of and suspects are memories that have been wiped. Another man is on the run because he doesn’t remember what he did, but thinks he must have done something awful. Another tells of a man whose wife gets a letter telling her she can get her memory restored, though she didn’t know she had erased a memory. He wonders if she erased an affair.

Tell Me An Ending is well-written. The different scenarios that could arise from this technology and the lawsuit work as ideas. The stories have an internal logic that makes sense. There was a lot of internal dialogue giving us insight into the characters and their motivations, but I think I would have preferred fewer stories, fewer people to follow. It’s not that I got confusing, but I didn’t get to fall in love with anyone. I didn’t spend enough time with them. I felt sorry for them but didn’t feel engaged. Some of that may also be the over-reliance on reading their thoughts. I don’t have to wonder what they feel, I am told what they feel. It’s a fine line because some inner monologue is necessary, but when it is overdone, then readers become less engaged. I think the concept of the novel is fresh and creative, but was not fully realized.

I received an e-galley of Tell Me An Ending from the publisher through NetGalley

Tell Me An Ending at Scribner | Simon & Schuster
Was this review helpful?
This book….what a ride. It’s a little bit sci-fi, this world very like our own but with a technology that can erase memories. Interested customers can visit this fancy clinic, to voluntarily remove a memory or maybe it happens in a more sinister way too? And maybe it doesn’t always work. 

While the premise is interesting enough, the way the story is crafted is what really hooked me. At first it’s jumping from character to character, seemingly making no sense at all - why do I care about these people and what was the deal with that one again?? Taking notes might be helpful. It’s hard to remember all the storylines but then…things start coming together enough to make a little bit of sense. In the end, I still couldn’t connect all the dots but I enjoyed this one! It was great for something a little different.
Was this review helpful?
This book had a very interesting concept to begin with, that I really enjoyed. The pacing fell a bit flat for me, and this type of contemporary sci-fi isn't my favorite genre, but I still enjoyed this one.

Thank you to Netgalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
There are some first novels that are kind of painfully obvious that they’re a first novel, and unfortunately this is one of them. I was drawn in by the idea of looking at the effects of a memory removal clinic on a personal level, but in the end, all our POV characters ending up connected to each other ended up being too trite for me, and it could’ve used some trimming to be a bit more focused editorially. Also a minor thing that irritated me - the references to Eternal Sunshine were too frequent. I finished this last night, and hilariously, I’m already forgetting specifics of the plot. A solid first attempt at a novel, but not anything that particularly stood out for me.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book. I found the concept very interesting. I have not read other novels about memory removal, so it seemed especially unique to me.
The story is part sci fi, part dystopia. It is told from the POV of several characters who all had had various memories wiped. All of these people are tied together by the Nepenthe memory removal clinic in London. Some of the characters and their personal stories are better developed than others, but the author included an interesting variety of people and reasons why they wanted to have memories removed. Discovery of what those memories were provided an intriguing element of mystery to the novel. Discussion of what memories are, how they are formed, and how they change over time added a philosophical angle that gave me something interesting to ponder.
This novel takes place at the present time and the premise seems reasonably believable. The author did not offer a belabored explanation of how the technology to affect the memory removal actually works, which I appreciated. It was vague enough to allow the reader to fill in the blanks and suspend disbelief. 
I like dystopian novels, and this was a good one. 
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
First off-beautiful cover art! I was excited to read this speculative fiction story about a clinic that deletes unwanted memories. There are two types of memory deletions- one the person goes in for and the other is done secretly so the client will willingly not know the procedure ever happened. After several clients start having memory leaks where some fragments of their previous memories start to happen but they can’t put the pieces together, they are given the opportunity,due to legal action taken against the clinic, to have the deleted memory restored. 
With this book I was expecting more of a suspenseful thriller or deep speculation but it was more to do with company corruption and the emotional impact of having the memory back. It was a book that makes you wonder what you would do if you were in that situation. Unfortunately this was not the type of book I was expecting and felt that some of the buildups for the main characters fell flat.
Was this review helpful?