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What to expect

Can you love someone you don’t remember?

After the Last War destroyed most of the world, survivors form a new society in four self-sustaining cities in the Mojave Desert. In the utopia of the Four Cities, inspired by the lyrics of “Imagine” and Buddhist philosophy, everything is carefully planned and controlled: the seasons, the weather—and the residents. To prevent mankind from destroying each other again, its citizens undergo a memory wipe every four years in a process called tabula rasa, a blank slate, to remove learned prejudices. With each new cycle, they begin again with new names, jobs, homes, and lives. No memories. No attachments. No wars.

Aris, a scientist who shuns love, embraces tabula rasa and the excitement of unknown futures. Walling herself off from emotional attachments, she sees relationships as pointless and avoids deep connections. But she is haunted by a recurring dream that becomes more frequent and vivid as time passes. After meeting Benja, a handsome free-spirited writer who believes his dreams of a past lover are memories, her world is turned upside down. Obsessed with finding the Dreamers, a secret organization thought to have a way to recover memories, Benja draws her down a dangerous path toward the past. When Metis, the leader of the Dreamers, appears in Aris’s life, everything she believes falls to pieces. With little time left before the next tabula rasa, they begin a bittersweet romance, navigating love in a world where names, lives, and moments are systematically destroyed.

Thought-provoking and emotionally resonant, Reset will make you consider the haunting reality of love and loss, and the indelible marks they leave behind.

Critics Review

  • “Who would we be without our memories, without our experiences, especially our loves and losses? Would we still be ourselves? Sarina Dahlan’s Reset wraps these questions in crisp, stylish prose and a story about love trying to withstand the rigors of time. This is a book subtle in its intensity, lush and beautiful, while carefully exploring what it means to be human and what we are to each other. Evocative and literary, I highly recommend it.”

    David R. Slayton, author of White Trash Warlock
  • “Reset is a thought-provoking journey into the human psyche that will instantly have you pondering deep questions about the nature of memory, dreams, and reality itself. This bittersweet love story is as cerebral as it is emotional, and Dahlan’s ability to strike and maintain that balance is what makes her novel about the significance of memory so memorable.”

    Bobby Azarian, cognitive neuroscientist, Psychology Today blogger, and author of the forthcoming book The Romance of Reality
  • “Dahlan’s elegant writing style is as light as a whisper on the wind while still strong enough to probe the unanticipated darkness of a peaceful, yet problematic, postapocalyptic utopia. Reset haunts the reader through an ethereal, existential exploration of memory and meaning that lingers long after the last page.”

    D. Eric Maikranz, author of The Reincarnationist Papers
  • Reset by Sarina Dahlan is a hauntingly beautiful love story that explores the nexus of memory, identity, and love. Though technically science fiction it has an atmospheric fairy-tale feel that left me spellbound. The bittersweet ending is surprising, satisfying, and in keeping with the contemplative nature of this tale. This would make an excellent book club read. Reset is a memorable, lyrical debut by Dahlan.”

    Ruth Mitchell, award-winning author of Deleted
  • “Crisp, stylish prose and a story about love trying to withstand the rigors of time. This is a book subtle in its intensity, lush and beautiful, while carefully exploring what it means to be human and what we are to each other. Evocative and literary, I highly recommend it.”

    David R. Slayton, author of White Trash Warlock
  • Reset is a vivid, evocative journey through a postapocalyptic world that calls on us to examine the relationships between memory, attachment, identity, and love, and to reflect on what chilling costs we might be willing to pay to attempt a conflict-free world. Told with an assured, graceful touch, this compelling debut is a story for our current world, where our beliefs and memories are the new battlegrounds.”

    Kimiko Guthrie, author of Block Seventeen

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