Book #62

You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South

An architect draws questionable inspiration from her daughter’s birth defect. A content moderator for “the world’s biggest search engine,” who spends her days culling videos of beheadings and suicides, turns from stalking her rapist online to following him in real life. At a camp for recovering internet trolls, a sensitive misfit goes missing. A wounded mother raises the second incarnation of her child.

In these short stories, South takes us to a dystopian place which doesn’t feel so far away. Despite some of the stories detailing advanced technology, or unimaginable concepts, they still feel strangely real and not altogether out of grasp.

We meet internet trolls, clones, careworkers, assault victims, ghosts, all of which are afflicted by some degree of unsettling circumstance. Each of South’s premises are original, and her imagination is something to be struck by; there’s something macabre in each object.

I tend to find most short story collections will have a mixture of hits and misses, and You Will Never Be Forgotten is no exception. In some stories I was incredibly gripped, in others definitely not so much, and sometimes not at all. South seems to favour an abstract and ambiguous ending in all of her offerings here, and most of the time that felt frustrating, particularly when the premise was excellent and could have been executed in a more satisfying way.

South’s edgy and exemplary skill here is obvious, and although it’s highly possible I’ve missed the point of it all, I would have much preferred more development of her ideas and for these to hit me harder.