Amazon’s adaptation train just keeps rolling on, despite the ongoing production shutdowns due to the pandemic. This week the streaming giant announced that they have acquired the option for The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa. It was first published in Japan in 1994. However, this dystopian novel was only translated into English last year. The English-language version of the book won a National Book Award this year, and was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Now it will be made into a feature film by Amazon, with Charlie Kaufman writing the script. Emmy award-winning director Reed Morano of The Handmaid’s Tale is also onboard. Let’s take a look at what we know about The Memory Police, and its adaptation from Amazon.
An A-List Crew Behind The Scenes
Charlie Kaufman in 2015 | Image via Wikimedia Commons
The novel by Yōko Ogawa was originally published in the 90’s, but the story is a timeless dystopian allegory. It follows an unnamed novelist living on a small island. She starts to notice things and people that are disappearing around her, but no one else seems aware of it. There is also a nefarious faction – the titular memory police – who want to make sure these things stay forgotten.
The meta nature of the a novel about a novelist is very on-brand for screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. He has covered similar themes in films like Adaptation. Kaufman has also delved into the nature of memory with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Reed Morano | Image via the directors website
Director Reed Morano will helm the adaptation of The Memory Police for Amazon. Morano was the first woman to win for directing at the Emmys in 2017. She won the award for the very first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale that she directed. She is definitely a director well-versed in dystopian nightmares, and is a fitting choice for The Memory Police.
The Memory Police Is A Haunting Story About Loss
Image via Penguin Random House
The official synopsis for The Memory Police tells us the following about the novel that is ready for an Amazon adaptation.
On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing. First hats; then ribbons, birds, roses. Until things become much more serious. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.
When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past.
We look forward to seeing Amazon’s adaptation of The Memory Police. It is sure to be a haunting and surreal film with people like Charlie Kaufman and Reed Morano working behind the scenes. For more genre news, be sure to follow Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.