“Jeevan lay on the sofa, entertaining flashes of random memory and thinking of things like cappuccinos and beer, while Frank worked on his latest ghostwriting project.”

This quote occurs in Chapter 28, as Jeevan passes time while the world ends by remembering things from the past. He remembers things from cappuccinos to the time he interviewed Arthur when he was a journalist. Both Jeevan and Frank turn to coping mechanisms as they struggle through the very early days of the end of the world. While Frank relies on work and chooses to finish his book despite the fact that future readers become increasingly unlikely, Jeevan focuses on remembering. Here, the use of the word “entertaining” suggests that remembering the dying world is both a pastime and a comfort for Jeevan. He focuses particularly on things that brought him pleasure. He also marvels at the particular things his memories turn to and appreciates how much he loves cappuccinos as he faces a world in which none exist. Though his memory is colored with grief, it also brings him solace in a time of great fear and uncertainty.

“I can’t remember the year we spent on the road, and I think that means I can’t remember the worst of it. . . . [D]oesn’t it seem like the people who struggle the most with it are the people who remember the old world clearly? 

. . . [T]he more you remember, the more you’ve lost.

This quote occurs in Chapter 37 as Diallo interviews Kirsten and she reflects on the gap in her memory from Year One. Here, she establishes that forgetting can be protective while postulating that her lack of memories from that first year on the road spares her from carrying the worst of her experiences with her. She never mourns losing those memories and never tries to recall them. This suggests that they may hold more pain than she can bear. Kirsten considers the weight of memory as a liability when it comes to making it in the new world, and this hypothesis is backed up by the relative ease with which the younger generation adapts to the new world because it is all they have known. Forgetting, or not being burdened by painful memories, is a coping mechanism that can help people to survive tremendous tragedy.

“I remember what computers looked like with the screen lit up. I remember how you could open a fridge, and cold air and light would spill out. Or freezers, even colder, with those little squares of ice in trays. Do you remember fridges? 

[…] And they had light inside as well as cold, right? I’m not just imagining this?”

This quote occurs in Chapter 27 during an interview with Diallo after Kirsten hypothesizes that remembering makes it harder for people to survive in the new world. Here, Kirsten goes through what she remembers in great detail from being a kid in the new world. This in some ways contradicts her hypothesis that memory impacts the ability to survive. Her memories tether her to her past and are integral to her understanding of who she was and what she experienced as a child. By checking her memory with Diallo, Kirsten illustrates that her memories are also crucial for her understanding of her own reality. Throughout the novel, memory plays this role for Kirsten, and her nostalgia for everything from refrigerators to being onstage with Arthur help her to know herself as a child and to become connected to the entire world that she lost in the pandemic.