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The measure : a novel
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Syndetics Unbound

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

"A story of love and hope as interweaving characters display: how all moments, big and small, can measure a life. If you want joy, love, romance, and hope--read with us." --Jenna Bush Hager

A luminous, spirit-lifting blockbuster that asks: would you choose to find out the length of your life?

Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.

It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out.

But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.

From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise?

As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they'll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, a couple who thought they didn't have to rush, a doctor who cannot save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.

Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is an ambitious, invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.

Fiction/Biography Profile
Magic realism
Life and death
Life choices
Trade Reviews
Library Journal Review
One day, everyone on Earth receives a small wooden box bearing the inscription "The measure of your life lies within" and containing a length of string--with different lengths for different recipients. Terrified to contemplate how much time they have to live, people fall back frantically on past belief or forge bold new connections as debuter Erlick considers how best to live life. With a 150,000-copy first printing.
Publishers Weekly Review
How would people behave if they knew the length of their lives, asks the moving but predictable debut novel from Erlick. One night, mysterious wooden boxes appear outside every door on Earth, each holding a string, the length of which corresponds to how long its recipient will live, which the recipients begin to figure out and share on social media. Erlick introduces seemingly unconnected characters as they grapple with the news. There's Hank, a physician who joins a support group for "short-stringers"; Jack, the long-stringed scion of a Kennedy-like political family; and Maura and Nina, a couple two years into their relationship, whose contentment is ruptured when they find that Maura's string is half the length of Nina's. Some people, like Nina's sister, Amie, choose not to look at their strings at all, but even conscious abstainers cannot deny the strings' devastating impact. Then, a charismatic and villainous presidential candidate looks to capitalize on an older generation's fears over the short-stringers and the hell they could raise. Late-breaking connections between the characters feel more schematic than revelatory, and details of diverse supporting players such as Jack's Latino college roommate, who "couldn't afford to be seen as failure," read like paint-by-numbers. Still, the scenes of grief and love are poignant. There's plenty of drama, but overall, it's a bit too anodyne. Agent: Cindy Uh, CAA. (July)
Booklist Review
It happened quickly and without warning: all across the globe, from remote villages to crowded high-rises, small boxes appeared in front of every adult's door. The sturdy boxes were made of something close to mahogany, but it was their contents that turned the world upside down: each one contained a string, quickly understood to correlate to the length of its recipient's life. Between the word-of-mouth spread and tireless news coverage, chaos ensued. Society splintered into "long-stringers" and "short-stringers," those destined to live long, healthy lives versus those now awaiting cancer diagnoses or fatal accidents. One small group of people stubbornly refuses to open their boxes, determined to live their lives exactly how they had been before. Echoing Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Claire Fuller's Bitter Orange, Erlick's debut (a Read With Jenna book pick and instant best-seller) is a futuristic thought experiment set close to the present day. Using a thoughtful and genuine group of characters to outline society's widely varied reactions to the strings' arrival, Erlick highlights the Herculean efforts needed to look beyond prejudice and predisposition.
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