Book Fridays: Trading Rosemary

I purchased Trading Rosemary by Octavia Cade after watching a review of this novella by Books and Pieces. Well, I added it to my TBR list and finally purchased it 3 months later. The story takes place in a world where experiences, memories are a form of currency. The memories are transferred into coins made out of various materials, usually scented with something relating to the memory they store. Coins are valued according to the memory they hold, common memories are worth very little but memories such as the birth of a child are worth a lot more. This relationship between smell and memory is something I think most of us can relate to. I love how just a scent can trigger vivid recollections.

In the story, Rosemary trades away the memory of her grandmother’s last concerto much to her daughter’s distress. She then sets out to get it back but in the process she trades away her own memories and experiences to the point where we must ask ourselves how much of her will be left? Throughout the story we are given glimpses of experiences and memories of Rosemary’s, in a way the book becomes a coin and we are receiving these memories stored within it.

The idea of trading memories and experiences is fascinating to me. Our experiences shape who we are so it stands to reason that they are valuable. How much do our memories make us who we are? I think Octavia Cade explores this within this novella.

The character of Rosemary was an interesting one. She wasn’t very nice, she continually said less than charitable things to and about her daughter. She was cruel to both animals and people. In all, she wasn’t a likeable person. She sought to have the best coin library and so she was a ruthless and meticulous trader. Stories usually offer us a character who goes off on an adventure or journey and gains things along the way. They often find themselves, change for the better, or something along those lines. Trading Rosemary offers us a story about a woman that goes on a journey but loses pieces of herself along the way (by trading away memories).

What remains of Rosemary at the end? I could tell you what I think but I really feel it’s best to read for yourself. I really enjoyed this book, the writing is superb and the world building is fantastic.