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Publisher's Summary

Touch the past or wash it away? Two sisters have a choice in this unforgettable short story of everyday magic and the power of memory by the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Ken Liu.

Gui is a professional cleaner at A Fresh Start, scrubbing away the unpleasant layers of memory that build up on the personal objects of his customers. Memory-blind himself, he can’t feel those wounds. Clara can, and she prefers them irretrievable. Until her sister, Beatrice, ultrasensitive to memory, raises one that could change Clara’s mind. For Gui, the past is gone. For Clara and Beatrice, deciding what to remember reaches to the heart of their shared history.

The Cleaners is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take the happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened, and frightened all over again.

©2020 Ken Liu (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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Profile Image for Elisabeth Carey
  • Elisabeth Carey
  • 03-01-2021

A touching story about family and memory

Giu is a cleaner, the owner of A Fresh Start, and he cleans away the unpleasant memories that have adhered to his customers' personal possessions. Giu has an unusual handicap in this world; he's memory-blind. He's not able to feel or read even his own memories on objects, and that created a challenge for his parents in teaching him their trade. Yet it also gives him certain advantages; he doesn't feel the pains of the bad memories he's scraping away.

Beatrice is hyper-sensitive, and makes a very good living doing forensic readings of memories attached to items involved in legal cases.

Clara has a fairly normal level of memory sensitivity, and after a bad breakup with her former boyfriend, wants to rid their shared items that he left behind of the painful memories. For this, she turns to Giu.

But Clara and Beatrice are sisters, and has an old, four-color pen that holds a memory that's at the heart of what binds them together.

When Beatrice invites Clara to lunch, and hands Clara that pen, Clara experiences that memory again, in full, and has something to think about that might change her mind.

It's an interesting, thoughtful, and touching story.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sunrise Books
  • 02-01-2021

Deserves a Whole Novel

I need more time in this universe to truly understand the way memory cleaning works, to get to know the characters more. And I really, really want too! Very intriguing and thought provoking

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Shahrazad
  • Shahrazad
  • 27-12-2020

Loved It!!

A great story that I'm going to both listen to & read a few times in order to do it justice.
An original idea based on ancient wisdom. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bella
  • 27-01-2021

Enticing

Good premises and interesting plot to ponder about. Very interesting story and recommend it to every body.
Cheers !

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Profile Image for Hall Ways
  • Hall Ways
  • 24-01-2021

So much to contemplate that I listened twice

THE CLEANERS by Ken Liu has an amazing premise, and it was fascinating to think about it on a personal level: what memories would I have removed from my life and existence? Any? Many? The writing really stands out , with a bunch of quotable lines that really sink in and mean something bigger, beyond the story itself. Particularly interesting to me and what I really enjoy are the bookish references and the idea of what each reader brings with them to read the book. There is much to contemplate in this short story (a one-hour listen), so I listened to it twice in a row. Kate Rudd’s narration is excellent.

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  • T. Dibble
  • 20-01-2021

Excellent concept

I really enjoyed the premise of this book. The idea was novel and the story told in a believable way. With it split from three different people's point of view, it got a bit hard to follow at points, trying to remember whose point was being made, but overall a pleasant listen.

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Profile Image for S.Marinak
  • S.Marinak
  • 17-01-2021

Interesting Premise.

Objects holding memories, feelings... good and bad... from previous owners. Then a society of readers to those memories, feelings.

Of course, how the society deals with memories, feelings they do not want to see, feel, experience.

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Profile Image for  Isaak
  • Isaak
  • 14-01-2021

Memory eraser

How would you like a bad date to have never existed in your mind? What would you pay to have a horrible relationship forgotten and all the memories associated with it? What about holding a beloved treasure also once held by your favorite artist or celebrity and then suddenly you were able to create? Gui, a cleaner by profession, can take all your memories, momentos, and worries away by getting rid of the unwanted feelings leaving only the good, or in this case, give you the idea to sell them on a "black market." I'm not ashamed to say that I didn't see the point of this particular short story. Good and bad things happen in life and giving the option for people to erase them to me makes people even more flawed since they're likely doomed to repeat the same irresponsibility. How will someone learn from a mistake or even be held accountable for their choices if they're allowed to erase them and pretend that they never happened? It's fantasy, thankfully, but this is one fake world I wouldn't be happy in.

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  • ReadingRover
  • 12-01-2021

Meh

I didn’t enjoy this one even close to as much as the first 3. The narration was good but I found the story lacking.

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