Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought:

In the crowded field of Crime Thrillers, it is not easy to find a truly original concept, but Felicia Yap might have done just that.

I first came across Yap last year, when the opening chapter of Yesterday was one of two pieces chosen for the National Academy of Writing’s Public Edit. I loved the idea behind the book and told her so. Just a few weeks later, I wasn’t a bit surprised to learn that it had been the subject of a bidding war at the 2016 London Book Fair.

I am thrilled, therefore, to have the chance to read an Advance Review Copy of Yesterday.

In Yap’s world – in other respects indistinguishable from ours – people have total vivid recall of everything that happened to them in either the previous 24 hours (Monos) or 48 hours (Duos). Beyond that, they remember only the facts they record at the end of each day in their iDiaries.

Into this mix comes a woman whose memories work like ours. Sophia remembers the hurt that was done to her twenty years earlier, and she is bent on revenge. So why is she the one who ends up dead? And how can detective Hans Richardson solve her murder when he has less than twenty-four hours before his memories are wiped?

The story unfolds from four points of view: the detective, a husband and wife whose lives are somehow entangled with Sophia’s, and Sophia herself, speaking from the pages of her iDiary. The text is also peppered with newspaper articles and other extracts that serve to flesh out this world for us.

It’s good to see publishers embrace a book that dares to cross the boundary between Crime Thriller and SciFi. Yap has worked through the ramifications of her world – from the practical aspects of life through the social mores and hierarchies that develop, to the impact on love itself. The reader can relax and go along for the ride, knowing they are in confident hands.

Like Matt Haig’s The Humans, this debut is a fun read that manages to sneak in some penetrating questions - in this case, about how memory affects both our relationships and our sense of self. In the end, the least human character among them is the one most like ourselves.

This is the first of a trilogy and I look forward to seeing where Yap takes this next.

Watch Yap discuss her writing secrets with fellow authors at the Triskele Lit Fest, Sept 2016.

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: The Humans by Matt Haig, The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas, The Lives and Loves of a She Devil by Fay Wheldon

Avoid if You Dislike:
Crossing genres

Perfect Accompaniment: Bacon sandwich and a coffee

Genre: Crime, Sci Fi

Available on Amazon

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