From Tom Carlisle’s Indie Litfic blog
There’s not many books out there like Roz Morris’s novel My Memories of a Future Life. It’s an intriguing, unusual story about Carol Lear, a pianist suffering from RSI, which early on makes an unexpected swerve into past and future lives and then never looks back. Morris’s hugely enjoyable novel includes a medium who channels spirits through her piano playing, a sinister spiritualist chatroom and a man who might just be the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper – to name just a few – and knits them together into a compelling, well-paced narrative.
If the above description sounds like a lot to take in, then the biggest surprise might be how grounded most of the story is. Roz Morris is a shrewd observer of the minutiae in people’s lives, and she skilfully captures the depths of Carol’s pain at having to potentially give up the piano, something that has shaped her identity for years. There’s a nice thematic link made between music and channelling spirits, for example, near the end of Part 1:
The language of notation is dictatorial and domineering. Every fraction of a second is documented. You don’t think, you do as the score tells you. Play this note for exactly a sixth of a second, and at exactly this volume. You feel what the composer orders – amoroso, play it lovingly; appassionata, passionately… Playing a piece is channelling the composer. You don’t read a score, you let it in and you do what the composer did inside his mind and his heart.
For me, this core drama was what really elevated “My Memories of a Future Life”. When the story shifts into the future, in sections that’ll feel comfortable to fans of David Mitchell and Iain M. Banks, it’s always with the anchoring force of Carol in the background. That’s a mark of Roz’s craftsmanship, and that clear sense of goal and desire certainly makes Carol a compelling character.