A startlingly original, genre-bending literary debut in which a lovesick college student is abducted by other versions of himself from the future.
After Henry's girlfriend, Val, leaves him and transfers to another school, his grief begins to manifest itself in bizarre and horrifying ways. Cause and effect, once so reliable, no longer appear to be related in any recognizable manner. Either he's hallucinating, or the strength of his heartbreak over Val has unhinged reality itself.
After weeks of sleepless nights and sick delusions, Henry decides to run away. If he can only find Val, he thinks, everything will make sense again. So he leaves his mother's home in the suburbs and marches toward the city and the woman who he thinks will save him. Once on the George Washington Bridge, however, a powerful hallucination knocks him out cold. When he awakens, he finds himself kidnapped by two strangers - one old, one middle-aged - who claim to be future versions of Henry himself. Val is the love of your life, they tell him. We've lost her, but you don't have to.
In the meantime Henry's best friend, Gabe, is on the verge of breakdown of his own. Convinced he is somehow to blame for Henry's deterioration and eventual disappearance, Gabe is consumed by a potent mix of guilt and sadness. When he is approached by an enigmatic stranger claiming to be an older version of his lost friend, Gabe begins to fear for his own sanity. With no one else to turn to, he reaches out to the only person who can possibly help him make sense of it all: Val.
©2015 Mark Ferguson (P)2015 Hachette Audio
"Mark Andrew Ferguson hinges the classic love triangle conflict to a mind-bending page-turner about madness, time-travel, and alternate realities. Mesmerizing and dazzlingly original - a breakout novel." (Wally Lamb, author of We Are Water and She's Come Undone)
"A wonderfully mad fugue of young love and time out of joint that grabs you from the first scene and keeps you guessing until the last." (Matt Ruff, author of The Mirage and Bad Monkeys)
"Vivid, haunting, stellar prose. A brave meditation on the fragility of the mind and the treachery of the heart." (Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now)
A former globetrotting surf punk turned homeowner with ecclectic tastes. Classics, horror, crime, biographies or lectures? Yes please!
This story was very well done and kept me engaged throughout. The exploration of madness, parallel universes and time travel certainly could have devolved into a cliche, but instead the approach was fresh and interesting throughout. The characters are well formed and I felt invested in them, I also found myself shaking my head in agreement with many of the insightful observations on human motivation. I will most definitely look for more from this author.
I'm a high school English teacher with a 3 hour round-trip commute everyday, so clearly, audio books are a big part of my daily existence!
It's hard to say if I would change anything about the book because I couldn't follow the story. Listening to this story was difficult - I believe I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the physical book. Because of the changing perspectives and time lapses, I found myself wishing I could turn back in the book to review where I was. Trying to go back in the audio version often confused me more.
Possibly something by an author that I've already listened to so I can get back in the swing of a relaxing listening experience. Maybe the newest release by Harlan Coban? This one stressed me out a bit!
I liked Gabe because I found him to be the most empathetic. I also enjoyed Henry in the beginning and his initial descent into madness. (Or whatever it was.)
Honestly, I don't think so. But I do think it would have been worth the reading time.
i like to read. i like to listen.
i wanted to rate this book higher, and i thought i would when it started...but as i slogged through it, i started to get really annoyed by all the Henry's and their mysteries and obsessions and complaining and got especially frustrated by their time travel and/or psychotic breaks.
i think the real problem with this story is that it relied so heavily on the ever present question is Henry insane or is he a time traveler that it never took the tie to give any of the characters depth or personality or likability or really anything to make a person want to read about them. the idea was there, but the execution was lacking. i got bored hearing multiple Henry's complaining about what they've lost. I got bored hearing Gabe talk about the music. I for bored with Val, period. She was one of the worst written female characters I've read in my life.
At first I thought the book could benefit from some heavy editing...then I realized that with the editing that would be needed to save this story, the book would be 4 chapters or so...oh well.
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