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Publisher's Summary

Station Eleven meets Never Let Me Go in this debut novel set in an unsettling near future where the dead can be uploaded to machines and kept in service by the living.

In the wake of a highly contagious virus, California is under quarantine. Sequestered in high rise towers, the living can’t go out, but the dead can come in - and they come in all forms, from sad rolling cans to manufactured bodies that can pass for human. Wealthy participants in the "companionship" program choose to upload their consciousness before dying, so they can stay in the custody of their families. The less fortunate are rented out to strangers upon their death, but all companions become the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people - a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will.

Sixteen-year-old Lilac is one of the less fortunate, leased to a family of strangers. But when she realizes she’s able to defy commands, she throws off the shackles of servitude and runs away, searching for the woman who killed her.

Lilac’s act of rebellion sets off a chain of events that sweeps from San Francisco to Siberia to the very tip of South America. While the novel traces Lilac’s journey through an exquisitely imagined Northern California, the story is told from eight different points of view - some human, some companion - that explore the complex shapes love, revenge, and loneliness take when the dead linger on.

©2020 Katie M. Flynn (P)2020 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about The Companions

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Really good

sometimes, a book packs an emotional punch that you don’t expect. this book did that for me, though I really should’ve expected it based on the publishers summary:
“In the wake of a highly contagious virus, California is under quarantine. Sequestered in high rise towers, the living can’t go out, but the dead can come in - and they come in all forms, from sad rolling cans to manufactured bodies that can pass for human. Wealthy participants in the "companionship" program choose to upload their consciousness before dying, so they can stay in the custody of their families. The less fortunate are rented out to strangers upon their death, but all companions become the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people - a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will.”
but I didn’t, somehow, which leaves only my weird self to blame since it’s obviously a tearjerker & brings complex emotions to the front. That said: wow, so well written and crafted, narrators are all excellently chosen & I am very glad I picked it up on new book Tuesday the other week.
warning: if COVID-19 is freaking you out, this book contains a new viral infection that is really bad, so heads up. It’s a literal OCD thing for me right now & I was fine but YMMV, obvs.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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very interesting but the ending just kind of fizzl

the topics and the ideas are quite good, a few consistency issues I have trouble reconciling with the information in the book. and the ending just kind of fizzled and doesn't feel really conclusive. it's still interesting enough with the topics to be worth reading and the characters are interesting. some of my book club group had difficulty following the story though since it jumps around characters in time a lot.

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Not great

I didn't think this was a great book. I was expecting it to better than it was. It didn't really hold my attention.