The Memory Eaters a novel


Sudare – a teacher of calligraphy, a connoisseur of poetry and more than eight hundred years old – is starving to death. 


She is one of the Kuyin, spirit beasts which eat the memories that humans wish to forget. She takes human form in order to live among them – but because she does not age, she has had to erase the memory of herself over and over again. 


Tired of this existence after eight centuries, she chooses the clean death of starvation. But a man fleeing a band of samurai collapses before her and, half-mad from hunger, Sudare consumes his memories, so many of them that he can no longer recall his past. When she realises what she has done, Sudare resolves to help the man to recover his identity. 


Their journey takes them from remote temples to the emperor’s city and its intrigues. There, they uncover secrets among the red lanterns of the courtesan district and dodge swordsmen working for Mokaga, a warlord plotting rebellion. His machinations threaten the fragile trust that Amado and Sudare have reached – and to destroy them both. 


A richly-detailed historical fantasy, The Memory Eaters takes readers on an adventure through an alternate version of samuraiera Japan. This compelling tale is sure to enthrall readers with its deftly woven plot, complex characters and vividly described settings, including a recognisable yet distinct take on real-world Kyoto. 


The author’s experience of living in Kyoto and familiarity with Japan lends a deeper authenticity. Steeped in Japanese history and folklore, and sensitive to the culture and language, the novel is imaginative yet respectful in capturing the traditions, lifestyles and political tensions of the period. 


By turns gripping, moving and thoughtful, The Memory Eaters is an engrossing read that explores the nature of memory, and how the way we remember the past affects the way we live in the present. 


About the Author 


Born in Singapore, Janice Tay entered journalism after graduating with a degree in English language and literature from St Hilda’s College, Oxford. She worked for more than 10 years at The Straits Times as a journalist, sub-editor, assistant forum editor and columnist. 


Kyoto Unhurried, a collection of travel writing based on her Straits Times column about Japanese history and culture, as well as her life in Japan, was published by Straits Times Press in 2016. She lives in Kyoto and speaks fluent Japanese. The Memory Eaters is her first novel.


ISBN: 978-981-4747-55-4 

Size: 130 mm x 196 mm (portrait)

limp with flaps 

364 pp

S$18.50 (excluding GST) 

S$19.79 (including GST)

Publication date: November 2017

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