Book Review: Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin


Across the world, thousands of people are shocked to receive an email telling them that they once chose to have a traumatic memory removed. Now they are being given the chance to get that memory back. For Mei, William, Oscar and Finn there is a piece missing, but they’re not sure what. And each of them must decide if the truth is worth the pain, or better left unknown. For Noor, who works at the memory clinic Nepenthe, the process of reinstating their patients’ memories begins to shake the moral foundations of her world. As she delves deeper into the programme, she will have to risk everything to uncover the true human cost of this miraculous technology. An exploration of secrets, grief, identity and belonging – of the stories we tell ourselves, and come to rely on, Tell Me An Ending is a sharp, dark and devastating novel about the power and danger of memory.


About The Author

Jo Harkin studied English Literature at university. She daydreamed her way through various jobs in her twenties before giving in and becoming a full-time writer. She published four real-world literary fiction novels under a pseudonym, before deciding to follow her passion and move into speculative fiction. Her focus is ‘what if’ stories with an emphasis on human lives. She lives in Berkshire.

My Thoughts

Book CW: suicide/attempts, bereavement, family breakdown, mental health

Thank you to the publisher, the author and Anne at @RandomTTours for a copy of the book with a request for an honest review.

Moral dilemma? Check. Well-rounded, flawed characters? Check. Interweaving storylines? Check. Science fiction that feels spookily real? Check. This book was everything I hoped it would be an more!

If you enjoy speculative fiction, sci-fi, dystopia, then this is certainly the book for you! Harkin seamlessly weaved the stories of Noor, Mei, William, Oscar and Finn throughout the novel to show the potential damages that come with tampering with the way our brains and memories function.

The writing style was so engaging. I must admit I was a bit daunted by the book as it comes in at over 500 pages (that’s quite a long book for me!) and the chapters were relatively lengthy, but it never felt like a chore because the plot, characters and prose were so wonderfully crafted. Harkin managed to strike the perfect balance between exploring a sensitive and morally grey topic with plot points, dramatic reveals and characters that you really connected with.

My only slight criticism is I thought that with the secrets of Nepenthe memory clinics there may be a more thriller element to it, which there wasn’t, but that’s entirely down to my own ideas about what I thought the book would be like, rather than what the book is. Nonetheless, the book held me in an iron grip as I was enthralled and eager to know as much as could about the fate of all the characters.

A brilliant novel which I highly recommend!

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