A novel by Cheryl Brin
What if you could take your very worst memories – those of extreme trauma or loss of a loved one – and seal them away in a box, tied to a unique musical melody, composed just for you. The memories are not lost – but stored deep within your brain. You can revisit them if and when you wish, simply by activating the melody of your box. Would such a device be used for good – or for evil if it got into the wrong hands…..
For centuries the colonists of Tyra suffered unexplained cycles of collapse and dark ages. Now, just as civilization seems to be clawing its way back, is that curse repeating, yet again?
Aya Voss is perennially unlucky. Caught as a child on the wrong side of the border, she grows up separated from homeland and family, always the outsider, isolated and tormented. Drafted out of school to help manufacture weapons for use against her own people, Aya struggles to survive and to rejoin those she left behind, as devastating war and plague and madness tear away all she knows.Amid the tragic cycles on this world, people retained one consistent technology—tying unpleasant memories to a melody, then stashing them safely away in a box. At times a blessing, memory boxes long ago became tools of repression, hobbling humanity’s ability to learn from mistakes. Might Aya’s new generation be the one to break this cycle at last and forge destiny anew?
The Melody of Memory is a coming-of-age story, as Aya manages to join—and then help lead—a revolution. A revolution of courage and purpose, to see past her own pain and Tyra’s. To help heal a wounded world.
Discussion Guide: The Melody of Memory
How do Aya’s feelings toward her homeland, Altira, change as she grows up in Donira, confronting often hostile propaganda?
How does Aya’s view of her mother evolve as she grows older?
Why did the early colonists on Tyra abandon the advanced technologies that brought them there?
How does the ethos of the Landing Charter affect the people of Tyra?
How does Aya view the use of memory boxes? Do her views change as she gets older?
Do you think that the memory boxes have an overall positive or negative effect on individuals – and on society?
How do the political systems of Altira and Donira differ? What are their comparative strengths and weaknesses compared to each other and Vakar. Can you think of parallels here on Earth?
How has Aya’s life been shaped by factors beyond her control? And what measures bring a little power back to her?
How does Aya feel about being forced to make weapons while in Donira? Does she have a choice?
Aya has complex feelings about her brother, Jeran. What motivates Jeran’s actions? Do they change anything?
How does Aya come to terms with her feelings of guilt – particularly with respect to Pier and her brother?
Why have the people of Tyra come to rely upon the memory boxes? Do you think that they can or will change in the future?
Do you think human beings can adapt to and become at-home on far, distant worlds? In the novel, are human beings finally adapting to Tyra?
“While addressing some serious issues, Cheryl Brin’s novel also is fun to read, both for adults and, I believe, for adolescent audiences.” Don Harrison, San Diego Jewish World