Memory Piece

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The award-winning author of The Leavers offers a visionary novel of friendship, art, and ambition that asks: What is the value of a meaningful life?

In the early 1980s, Giselle Chin, Jackie Ong, and Ellen Ng are three teenagers drawn together by their shared sense of alienation and desire for something different. “Allied in the weirdest parts of themselves,” they envision each other as artistic collaborators and embark on a future defined by freedom and creativity.

By the time they are adults, their dreams are murkier. As a performance artist, Giselle must navigate an elite social world she never conceived of. As a coder thrilled by the internet’s early egalitarian promise, Jackie must contend with its more sinister shift toward monetization and surveillance. And as a community activist, Ellen confronts the increasing gentrification and policing overwhelming her New York City neighborhood. Over time their friendship matures and changes, their definitions of success become complicated, and their sense of what matters evolves.

Moving from the predigital 1980s to the art and tech subcultures of the 1990s to a strikingly imagined portrait of the 2040s, Memory Piece is an innovative and audacious story of three lifelong friends as they strive to build satisfying lives in a world that turns out to be radically different from the one they were promised.

Praise for Memory Piece:

“Lisa Ko’s socially astute and formally innovative second novel, Memory Piece, takes readers back to the dawn of the Internet… gritty and refreshingly girl-centric… It documents the last days of people being untrackable, able to disappear, and for this alone lingers in the imagination.” The New York Times

“Limber, ambitious… Memory Piece asks what hopes are worth clinging to, what parts of society are worth participating in, what powers are worth putting in the energy to fight. It belongs to an American literary tradition that includes Dana Spiotta, George Saunders, and their patron saint, Don DeLillo: writers whose characters sense that their lives happen at the whim of forces too enormous to understand or evade, but set out to dodge them anyway.”The Atlantic

“Ko draws characters with such deftness that they feel wholly alive. Details add up over time to create dazzling dimensionality. We see the characters as they see themselves, and as they see each other, allowing for a panoramic view.”The Washington Post

“A sharp novel that spans the past, present, and future of a friendship.”TIME

“A moving, strikingly evocative exploration of New York’s art, tech, and activism scenes across the decades.”Vogue, Best Books of 2024

“Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad meets Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life—if the latter were 500+ pages shorter, infinitely less traumatic, and centered on a triad of Asian American women.”Oprah Daily

“Lisa Ko has brought us one of those rare, sumptuous tales of art and friendship that feels both universal and inimitable.”Elle, Best (and Most Anticipated) Fiction Books of 2024

“A moving, sharply observed portrait of friendship and discovering what it means to live a worthwhile life—whether or not it’s anything like what we’d hoped.”Town & Country, “Most Anticipated Books of Spring”

“Ko’s prose is beautiful and sharp, and her ability to shapeshift through a range of tones makes the novel a pleasure to read. . . a compelling, often chilling and beautifully observant novel about what connects us to, and disconnects us from, each other.” –BookPage

“The novel serves as an archive of our past and a vision for what’s to come, hauntingly beautiful in a way that’s both nostalgic and dystopian. In essence, Memory Piece is about the power of remembering, especially when it’s painful.”Booklist

“Ko spans past, present, and future with the astute story of three Asian American women from the New York City tristate area over the course of their lives…A worthy follow-up to Ko’s striking debut.”—Publishers Weekly

“Evocative and luminous. Ko once again introduces us to people we want to know deeply, then as always, delivers that and beyond. A glorious writer.”—Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winning author of Red at the Bone

“Wild and wonderful, punk and propulsive, Memory Piece is about three friends growing from girlhood into a sinister new world. It is about authenticity, surveillance, capitalism, queerness, and the internet. It is about—it is—everything.” —Julia Phillips, National Book Award finalist author of The Disappearing Earth

“Remarkable . . . vividly captures the urgency of youth, and becomes a heartbreaking elegy for a communal, almost utopian approach to urban life.” —Rumaan Alam, National Book Award finalist for Leave the World Behind

“Dazzlingly inventive and knowing, Memory Piece is a bold and affecting novel about resistance, solidarity, and friendship.” —Dana Spiotta, National Book Award finalist and author of Eat the Document

“A group portrait of three women who wrest meaning from a world that is closing down around them, Memory Piece is bright with defiance, intelligence, and stubborn love. To spend time with these characters is a gift.” —C Pam Zhang, bestselling author of How Much of These Hills is Gold

Press and Interviews

The Cut Q&A

NPR: Here & Now

Electric Literature Q&A

Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast

The Boston Globe: Bibliophiles

Barnes and Noble Poured Over Podcast

WNYC Interview

PBS Books Author Talk

Dazed Q&A

Belletrist Q&A

Largehearted Boy Author Playlist

theSkimm Q&A

ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Interview