Yesterday

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Publication Date: 08/01/17

Author: Felicia Yap

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“How do you solve a murder when you only remember yesterday?

Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Monos, the majority, have only one day’s worth of memory; elite Duos have two. In this stratified society, where Monos are excluded from holding high office and demanding jobs, Claire and Mark are a rare mixed marriage. Clare is a conscientious Mono housewife, Mark a novelist-turned-politician Duo on the rise. They are a shining example of a new vision of tolerance and equality—until…

…a beautiful woman is found dead, her body dumped in England’s River Cam. The woman is Mark’s mistress, and he is the prime suspect in her murder. The detective investigating the case has secrets of his own. So did the victim. And when both the investigator’s and the suspect’s memories are constantly erased—how can anyone learn the truth?”

 

When I first picked up Yesterday by Felicia Yap, I had high hopes for this novel. It intrigued me. How could a murder mystery possibly work in a setting where people lost all their memories after only one or two days?

It turns out it can. Felicia Yap does a masterful job of creating a complex plot within the limitations of her fictional society, all the while leaving very few loose ends. This was impressive in and of itself; even more so when you consider the fact that the entire novel switches point of view between four characters.

However, while this book had an amazing plot, the plot was definitely its biggest strength. As with many books I’ve read, this novel substitutes intriguing and well rounded characters for plot development. All of the characters were normal human beings, not particularly likeable or unlikable, and with plenty of faults. I can appreciate that. Not every character in a book has to be the chosen one, or ultra charismatic. However, the characters do have to be intriguing and multidimensional, which I feel many of them weren’t. It was the plot that kept me reading, not the characters themselves, which was unfortunate.

Despite this, the complex relationships between each character were unique, and refreshing. There was no epic romance, no burning passions. The relationships were more realistic for the most part; slow burning disdain, love between partners built upon years of mutual support. It was…realistic, and I liked it.

Overall, I recommend you give this book a try. If your interest in novels comes from intriguing, well rounded characters this book may not be for you, however, both its fascinating plot and unique take on human connection and morality make it a worthy read.