Leni Zumas in The New York Times:
We are all going to die. Most of us don’t know when. But what if we did know? What if we were told the year, the month, even the day? How would that change our lives? These questions drive Nikki Erlick’s debut novel, “The Measure,” which weighs Emerson’s claim that “it is not the length of life, but the depth of life” that matters.
One morning, adults around the world find on their doorstep (or outside their tent, or next to their shelter bed) a box labeled with their name. Inside is a piece of string whose length, it turns out, represents their life span. Short strings, long strings, medium strings — every person over 21 receives one, delivered in strange containers that materialize out of nowhere. As the weeks go by and data is gathered, scientists declare the strings to be accurate in forecasting how long their recipients will live. Some people choose to look at their strings; others throw the unopened boxes off bridges, preferring not to know how much time they have left.