"It's midnight and the lion is out."
This thought is persistent and insistent in Presley Smith's life. It haunts him and immobilizes his being. Is it some message from a previous life? Will this memory penetrate into his everyday existence and destroy his sanity?
Dr. Frank Sina wants to find out. Why does this phenomenon in his patient's mind begin with this single thought? A seemingly meaningless string of words that have no meaning for Presley Smith. In his sessions with Presley, Dr. Sina begins to creates a handwritten record of anything from his own or his patient's memories. He knows that whatever scraps were retrievable are probably already lost in the abyss of electromagnetic noise.
As people leap from one life into another in an attempt to defy death, sometimes the switch is not a clean one. There is a slight chance that the past may catch up to a current life. And when those flashes of memory, slowly make their way in, they can haunt the person. Trying to understand these pictures and images only feeds the syndrome and revives the dead circuits in the brain, bringing more of them back. And, that would be disastrous.
So, it's a delicate cat and mouse game with the doctor and the patient. But, there is more in this case. Presley Smith feels like more than just a patient to Dr. Sina. There is a connection somehow between the two of them. But he must figure it out on his own. He himself has lived a very long life. But, with every new existence, previous memories are erased. One of the problems with longevity is that there are no family or old friends. Only fake memory.
Nostalia is a book that explores immortality. People want to live forever. But, can we really break free from one world and leap into another without any consequences? Will the brain allow us to completely erase our past lives? The term Nostalgia, refers to the leaked memory syndrome. Thoughts from a previous life may burrow into the conscious mind, threatening to pull the sufferer into an internal abyss.
Are we closer to regenerating ourselves without any ramifications? Time will tell, but M.G. Vassanji's novel Nostalgia cautions of our brashness to play god.
Nostalgia is published by Doubleday Canada.