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Marcello Iori
The Mushroom Effect
M. A. Iori, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

A time travel-story that narrates a fatal drama about two lovers separated by death (a modern version of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice). She died and he lost his memories of her. A life that, Francesco, feels destroyed, incurable. Rehabilitation has failed. The encouragement of his family was not enough. Friends put aside. Except that, suddenly, after months of unlimited suffering, an old schoolmate proposes an ambiguous solution: to try a substance able to take him into a parallel world to meet his lost love. He must travel through an uncharted reality and bend the law of nature in order to regain lost memories. But in this new reality, Francesco meets another girl and new friends. Who are they and why do they look so familiar? Will he be able to understand the facets of life's deepest secrets? Also, the story take place between Italy and Bournemouth. I would say that mainly it dwells in Bournemouth. The story probes different aspects of human potential, revealing a world of emotions and sensations that we often keep hidden or unacknowledged. It offers the reader an opportunity to reflect on the feelings of guilt frequently felt by those who have had to face the loss of a loved one.

Crafted as a retelling of the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus, Iori’s ambitious psychological drama centers on love, death, and loss—and what it takes for the heart to heal. In Italy, reeling from the death of Lisa, the woman he loves, Francesco is jolted to discover that memory loss has wiped her face from his mind. Soon, he receives an impossible offer from his old friend Losco: the chance to see her face again, after ingesting honeyed mushrooms with psychotropic properties. But Losco’s plan calls both for facing the past and moving on from it, as he books Francesco in a seaside resort. Past and present, new friends and old, get bound up together, all as Francesco feels like “a meteorite ready to hit the bottom of the abyss with a thud.”

Despite the references to myth and Dante’s Divine Comedy, Francesco’s journey takes him through the present and the recent past, and is primarily realistic in its telling, though readers will wonder, along with Francesco, what experiences he’s truly living through, and when. Rather than an underworld, Iori twines a pair of beach cities into the tale, Sanremo and Bournemouth, and presents Frencesco with the opportunity to connect with—and maybe love—someone new. Francesco seeks not to have Lisa forever, in the manner of the heroes of myth, but to reclaim her memory and to learn to live without her, a distinction that sets this psychologically incisive telling apart from its inspirations.

Readers should expect that, as Francesco edges toward new possibilities, things are not quite as they seem. (The protagonist did, after all, swallow six mushrooms, press a red button, and agrees to a set of rules for Losco’s regimen that preclude human contact.) But by story’s end it all makes clear emotional sense, and even is touched with wisdom, especially in the final revelations, some wrenching, from Losco. Iori’s translation of the novel into English from Italian is conversational and usually clear.

Takeaway: The surprising story of an Italian man’s psychotropic journey to rediscover the face of a lost love.

Great for fans of: Keith Donohue’s The Motion of Puppets, Sarvat Hasin’s The Giant Dark.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+

Instagram, Instablogger

✴️✴️What if you wake up one day and find that you've lost all the memories of the person you used to love the most??🔖🔖B O O K R E V I E W🔖🔖✴️✴️A good book. Easy to understand. Though it's a science fiction but it's very relatable. Reveals a lot of things about love & life. Contains many lessons about life.✴️✴️Highly recommended.

Library Thing

I started to read this book after break-up with my girlfriend so it was quite an experience and journey through this book story. On one hand it was easy to relate with main character Francis and feels his struggle, emotion on other hand it still incomparable how he feels after loosing his beloved Lisa in car accident and loosing all her memories. So all in all this book hit me like a truck and it was quite a wild trip to read and imagine myself as a protagonist of this story. If one of my college or friend of old days would suggest magic mushrooms that can help and save myself, heal my open wounds - I will take them in blink of eye, like main protagonist of this book did.

Why you really truly start to value things only after throwing them away or by loosing them forever?
How its so hard to come to yourself, to accept acts you done and things you said? But without these you can't move forward as a human being. 
Main character Francis came in contact with old friend Losco, who also had his secret and dark past. Both book characters with magic mushrooms helps goes to each one personal hell to find a salvation and conclusion to their ongoing life's in present day Bournemouth. Main character pursuits for redemption of his soul as metaphor for acts he did and why in first place. 

This was interesting book and some small remarks and details can only be found while reading second time or at least by reopening previous chapter and pages.½

1  | flagLinasK | Jan 30, 2023

Library Thing

An interesting book and a great attempt to create "a modern version of the myth of Eurydice and Beatrice" which is what the author has as his aim. It was strange for me to read about Bournemouth as the setting as I lived near there as a teenager in the 1970s. I only live about an hour away in the same county now but I very rarely visit and I know from others that it has changed A LOT as evidenced in this book too! The use of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic substance found in lots of fungi and its uses as a possible treatment for depression and trauma induced mental illness is currently a big subject of research and there are clinical trials going on and so this is very topical issue. It was a good story with the right amount of 'confusion' for the subject matter! I liked the character of Francesco and the details of relationships and the close observations of interactions between couples.

   | flagAmandaMoira | Dec 22, 2022 |

Library Thing

The Mushroom Effect is a book about love and grief. Francesco loses his memory and can't recall the face of the woman he loves who died in an accident. He is persauded by an old friend, Losco, to try mushrooms to help him heal. After the set up where we meet Francesco and his family, he travels to England from Italy and meets Losco in Bournemouth. Much of the novel is spent in this drug-induced alternative reality where Francesco visits various parties and clubs, meets Lauren and a woman with green eyes and a French student and gradually faces up to the memories he has lost. This part of the novel hangs together but has the necessary confusion so that the reader isn't always clear what is real and what isn't. An interesting read.

   | flagCarolKub | Dec 22, 2022 |

Library thing

I requested this book because it seemed out of my comfort zone, honestly. I love myths and modern retellings, but the drug-based storyline seemed strange. But after reading it, I found it really interesting. The prose is written in a lyrical style I enjoyed a lot. And the influence of the mushrooms throughout the story adds this fantastical element of making the reader question whether what we're seeing is real. It didn't end up being one of my favorite reads, but I respect the author immensely for coming up with such a clever concept and turning into a compelling story.½

1  | flagdndlp | Jan 16, 2023 |