South writes as though she has always been where we find ourselves now: looking back on a world where we believed we might gain personal agency over technology’s dominion, entering one where such agency is a luxury we might never again hope to afford ... stories of exceptional loss, spilling out at the point of conflict between the cool detachment of the technological world and the tender vulnerability of the users living within it ... This collection’s power, though, comes from South’s dark sensibility, her comfort with brutality, and her narrative insistence that, while the nightmare of tech capitalism won’t wholly eradicate the personal and the private, it will compress beyond recognition the spaces where personal, private moments can unfold ... South writes with the assurance of someone who knows she has no answers to give. But instead of resulting in a shrugging ambivalence, You Will Never Be Forgotten mounts an ever more effective critique of technology-amplified structural inequality ... [the] stories are united by South’s keen examination of the thrill and risk of human connection—between lovers, siblings, parent and child, care-giver and care-receiver, and digitally connected strangers—under increasingly cruel conditions ... Still, You Will Never Be Forgotten shows us there is still tenderness to be found, and protected, in the brave new world to come.
... self-contained, bleak and tightly wrought chapters ... South shows a comedic slickness with language ... That profound loneliness, though, becomes tiresome after so many chapters, and South’s fetishization of illness can be off-putting. The reader keeps hoping for something or someone to redeem the collection from despair, but that seems to be a little too much to ask for. If you’re looking for an escape from everything that is awful right now, it’s not this.
Not all is dreary—a lot of what’s set down is almost gonzo-like, infused with plenty of inventive fun ... There’s craziness at every turn in these yarns. A few pages recall science fiction and fantasy, others conjure up someone like Wes Anderson—a Wes Anderson in high gear ... Curiouser and curiouser—that’s the name of Mary South’s game ... Whatever might be dark about these stories may also be—since they’re reliably witty and frequently very funny—a welcome distraction and relief from current events.