The Memory Theater: A Novel (Hardcover)
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From the award-winning author of Amatka and Jagannath—a fantastical tour de force about friendship, interdimensional theater, and a magical place where no one ages, except the young
In a world just parallel to ours exists a mystical realm known only as the Gardens. It’s a place where feasts never end, games of croquet have devastating consequences, and teenagers are punished for growing up. For a select group of masters, it’s a decadent paradise where time stands still. But for those who serve them, it’s a slow torture where their lives can be ended in a blink. In a bid to escape before their youth betrays them, Dora and Thistle—best friends and confidants—set out on a remarkable journey through time and space. Traveling between their world and ours, they hunt for the one person who can grant them freedom. Along the way, they encounter a mysterious traveler who trades in favors and never forgets debts, a crossroads at the center of the universe, our own world on the brink of war, and a traveling troupe of actors with the ability to unlock the fabric of reality.
Endlessly inventive, The Memory Theater takes us to a wondrous place where destiny has yet to be written, life is a performance, and magic can erupt at any moment. It is Karin Tidbeck’s most engrossing and irresistible tale yet.
About the Author
KARIN TIDBECK lives in Malmö, Sweden, where they work as a translator and creative writing teacher and write fiction in Swedish and English. Their English-language debut, the story collection Jagannath, received the IAFA William L. Crawford Fantasy Award and was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award. They are also the author of the novel Amatka.
ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR • One of Buzzfeed's 21 Fantasy Books to Get Excited About This Winter • One of Tor's 30 Most Anticipated SFF Books of The Year
“The Memory Theater is exquisite and astonishing. The prose has a sculpted precision, every sentence both tense as a watch spring and serene as a mountain. Tidbeck skips from horror to wonder to humor like a stone skimming water, and is equally nimble in managing characters; each one steps onto the page fully formed no matter how minor the role.”
—Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times
“Blending fairy-tale atmosphere with ‘the real world,’ Karin Tidbeck’s The Memory Theater is lovely, dark, and hopeful all at the same time.”
—Ann Leckie, author of the Imperial Radch Trilogy and The Raven Tower
"At once arrestingly strange and hauntingly familiar, The Memory Theater is a brand new fairy tale you can almost remember hearing before."
—Lara Elena Donnelly, author of the Amberlough Dossier
“The Memory Theater is a wonder, sparkling with magic and menace. Karin Tidbeck has written a taut, engrossing fable about identity, time and home that wanders through worlds that lie hidden beyond the veil of our own.”
—Shawn Vestal, author of Daredevils
“Karin Tidbeck is one of the finest writers of fantastic fiction in the world. The Memory Theater is as intricate and as gorgeous as a Swiss watch, only this watch comes from the realm of the Fae. Tidbeck's second novel is beguiling, terrifying, and hugely compassionate. A cause for celebration.”
—Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters and Wounds
“Inventive, surreal, at times violent, [The Memory Theater] has a timeless, durable quality . . . The Memory Theater maintains a kind of gentleness and fascination with the world—childlike and serious at once . . . a strange and ultimately quite delightful tale.”
—Jake Casella Brookins, Chicago Review of Books
“Wonderful . . . [The Memory Theater], boasting no translator, is [Karin Tidbeck’s] own coinage, and it shows a level of unassuming but beautiful prose which many a native speaker might envy . . . Taken all in all, this sophomore novel from Tidbeck is a remarkable accomplishment, full of eerie magic, human pathos, and mystical urgings. I suspect the Memory Theater troupe is applauding themselves for introducing this book to our reality.”
—Paul Di Filippo, Locus
“[The Memory Theater] left me grateful for the experience of reading . . . Rich, multiversal, all-encompassing . . . A nesting doll of interconnected worlds and lives, a kaleidoscopic reflection of our reality, made magical and strange.”
—Molly Templeton, Tor
“The Memory Theater is as inventive and eerie as Swedish author Karin Tidbeck’s previous works, though more fantastical and fairytale-like.”
—Buzzfeed, “21 Fantasy Books to Get Excited About This Winter”
“The Memory Theater is a truly immersive experience, and absolutely blew my mind.”
—Tor, “The 30 Most Anticipated SFF Books of 2021”
“A dark, new fairy tale about the haves and the have-nots.”
—K.W. Colyard, Bustle
"Sharp and glittering. . . . Tidbeck [creates] a world where love, cruelty, and wonder all exist side by side. Highly recommended for fans of Tanith Lee, Michael Moorcock, or Mervyn Peake.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Expansive and wildly imaginative . . . Tidbeck straddles fantasy, coming-of-age drama, and horror with an exciting, sometimes wrenching tale of friendship and time travel . . . This fast-paced fantasy will please fans of quest stories who don’t mind a bit of darkness.”
"Strange and unique . . . A dark fairy tale that snakes through the multiverse."