Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 book 109

Jo Walton's My Real Children
A new Jo Walton book is a special treat--I want to immediately compare this one to Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, though if that's the setting, the themes, the timeline, or the general concept, I'm not really sure. Anyway, our protagonist is Patricia, an elderly woman with dementia in a nursing home in 2015, who has memories from two completely different lives, and isn't sure which is real. They hinge on one decision--whether or not she marries her college boyfriend, somewhat on the spur of the moment. Of course, it being a Jo Walton book, both realities are ALSO set in slightly-alternate universes (nuclear wars, a different Kennedy assassination, etc). I'm not entirely sure that's necessary from a narrative standpoint, but it definitely adds a layer of surreality that I enjoyed. This is one of those books I found so engrossing that I would look up and realize an hour or more had gone by. I mean, there are certainly things that a more critical eye could nitpick--some of the later chapters sort of devolve into lists of what various offspring are doing, the focus on social/cultural issues is very much appreciated but might come off as a little bit preachy, and the end left me wanting a bit more--but I REALLY liked this. A/A-.

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