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***** - The Measure


Your fate arrives in a box on your doorstep. Do you open it?

It seems like just another morning.

You make a cup of tea. Check the news. Open the front door.

On your doorstep is a box.

Inside the box is the exact number of years you have left to live.

The same box appears on every doorstep across the world.

Do you open yours?




If a box arrived on the doorstep that contained a string which foretold the length of your life, would you open it? What would be the consequences if you did?

The Measure is a unique and intriguing premise and is a strong debut novel for accomplished writer Nikki Erlick. Each chapter changes perspective through a group of loosely related people as they try to navigate love, loss and moral dilemmas that the strings have brought onto the world. It’s one of those books that brings up a lot of truly puzzling questions and allows you to ponder what you would do or feel in a similar situation. Some of the ideas explored, such as short-stringers being classed as secondary citizens, political mandates being introduced to make them unable to partake in certain jobs or the splitting of society as short-stringers are shunned or fight back seemed (sadly) realistic in today’s world.

Not much is explored about the strings themselves, we have no idea where they came from or why and this isn’t focused on throughout the narrative. It’s much more a domestic thriller with a sci-fi or dystopian setting. You really get into the minds of the main characters; from Nina and Maura: a couple with very different string lengths, Amie who doesn’t want to look at hers, Ben who had his fate told to him by a leaving lover or Jack and Javid who swap strings to escape the futures they feel unsuited for. It’s a story of loss but also a story of hope and although the ending reduced me to tears, it really brings home the importance of using the time we have left to spend with those we love.

Overall, The Measure is a heart-breaking but uplifting read and I highly recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley & Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction and The Borough Press for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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