📖 The Measure

“Can you tell what this one means?” Nina pointed to another sticker. Maura studied the yellow paper under Nina’s finger. Se il per sempre non esiste lo inventeremo noi. Her forehead scrunched, her brain searching for the words. “If forever doesn’t exist,” she said, “we’ll invent it ourselves.”

Nikki Erlick
The Measure


This is a very captivating thought experiment disguised as a science fiction novel. I gobbled it up very quickly on a flight. The story begins with everyone waking up one day to find a box at their doorstep, and inside that box is a piece of string. The length of the string corresponds to how long you will live.

If you have a short string, do you give up? Take all the risks you want before you are gone? Consider euthanasia to avoid a nasty accident taking your life? Should your leaders declare the length of their strings? What if you and your life partner have markedly different lengths… The writer explores many, many different scenarios and they can be intimate, horrifying, banal… I didn’t have much expectations in terms of writing but I found that the story moves along well, and much as the topic is morbid, the book is overall leaning towards optimism. It would perhaps be more appreciated by those who like reading philosophy.


“The beginning and the end may have been chosen for us, the string already spun, but the middle has always been left undetermined, to be woven and shaped by us.”