Perfect for book clubs – a hugely compelling story about the power of time and human connection.
If you were given the chance to learn how much time you had on this earth – or the exact measure of your life – would you take it?
That’s the premise of The Measure, Nikki Erlick’s debut novel. It’s a day like any other, except today everyone around the world – aged twenty-two and older – has received a small wooden box. Inside the box is a string which shares your ultimate fate: the exact number of years you will live.
No one knows who or what is behind the boxes with the strings, but it’s clear they are accurate. In a matter of months, the CDC has introduced an online calculator to help folks translate the amount of time they have left, if they dare.
Some people opt not to open their boxes, choosing to live their lives to the fullest without the knowledge. In The Measure, Erlick has created a compelling cast of characters who explore the philosophical, sociological, and political implications of the strings.
It’s not long before short stringers and long stringers are pitted against each other in society. Government agencies issue mandates that require military service members to reveal the lengths of their strings. A social movement takes shape with demonstrations and hashtags to support short stringers who have been deemed unbalanced risk takers with little to lose.
With short-ish chapters in a character-driven narrative, Erlick guides the reader through an utterly original sociological experiment by presenting a wealth of perspectives – from young people who choose not to have children they won’t be around to raise, to a populist political candidate who stokes a culture war to get elected.
A New York Times bestseller, The Measure is a perfect choice for your next book club read. You won’t be able to stop talking or thinking about it. To be honest, I’m still wondering if I would have opened my box!