22. Nostalgia (M.G. Vassanji)

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 9.51.33 PM“In our bid to outpace age and defy death, we leap from one life into another, be it imperfectly, and hope fervently – in the manner of acknowledged sinners – that the past does not catch up with us.  But sometimes it does…”

Canada Reads begins in 10 days and in preparation for the series of debates I have finished reading Nostalgia.  Set in future Toronto, this book describes the human challenge of fighting aging and death by rejuvenating themselves.  In this future setting, individuals  take on a new identities after erasing their initial lives and starting fresh with a fictional history, memories and new life.  It is a thought-provoking read but I would not vote for it being the “one book that Canadian’s need to read now”.

The main character is Dr. Frank Sina who is a memory specialist who helps individuals which experience ‘memory leaks’ from their previous lives.  He meets a new patient, Presley Smith, who struggles with emerging memories and for some unknown reason the doctor becomes attached to this patient.  As he ruminates on Presley’s memories, he begins to have flash backs of his own.

This book makes readers reflect on the human struggle to extend lives, cure diseases and fight death.  It examines the challenges that might occur should humans live longer, continue working and live amongst the young.  It discusses the discrepancy between different areas of the world and those who have and have not.

Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji is being defended by Jody Mitic, veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who stepped on a landmine and lost both of his legs below the knees. He later starred in The Amazing Race Canada and won a seat as a city councillor for Ottawa.

While I look forward to the debates, I struggled to stay focused on this book.  It was slow moving although it did make me ponder.  While Company Town describes a future life with controlling technology, Fifteen Dogs examines the lives of dogs with human-thought, The Right to Be Cold reviews the human impact on the Arctic and Nostalgia forms the tale of immortality.  These books share a theme of life changing by invention and progress.

Although science fiction is not my ‘go-to’ genre, this book did make me reflect on our death denying culture.  I can’t wait for the debates to begin and look forward to learning which book will become the one book all Canadian’s should read.

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6 Responses to 22. Nostalgia (M.G. Vassanji)

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