Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 341
Ory and Max
Ory and Max are the main characters in Ping Shepherd's Book of M. They are a married couple living in India, where some people have suddenly begun to lose their shadows. When a person loses his shadow, he develops a strange kind of power and gradually loses his memory; this process is called the Forgetting. These people become violent and dangerous, and to avoid them, Ory and Max hide themselves away in an abandoned building in the deep woods.
For a time, Ory and Max live undisturbed by what is happening in India—until the day Max loses her shadow. Since this means she will eventually lose her memory and become a danger to Ory, she decides to run away. This is a supreme act of love, as Max will be alone on this journey to face any terrible dangers which will likely come her way. The Forgetting has given rise to fearful changes in India.
When Ory realizes that his wife has left, he decides to pursue her. Ory wants to be with his wife during whatever time remains before Max completely loses her memory. The trail he follows is a difficult one, and he frequently runs into dangerous men. The capital has been totally destroyed, and civil war may begin any time. As he presses on in search of his wife, Ory happens upon a scary bunch who have begun to form a cult in support of worshiping the "Shadowless."
Max continues her journey, and Ory keeps pursuing her. Theirs is a self-sacrificing love, and each is concerned more about the welfare of their mate than they are about their own safety. Then hope seems shine for them as Max gets word that a possible cure for the Forgetting has been discovered in southern India.
Though these characters may not be in a typical romantic setting, Ory and Max are a perfect example for married couples everywhere. They demonstrate how selflessly and loyally each spouse should love, protect, and care for the needs of the other.
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