Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda--four terminally ill patients--have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves--without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.
But the fresh start they've been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-10-19
- Reviewer: Staff
A sick, faded actress, a young art student with lung cancer, a mother whos been paralyzed for eight years, and an arrogant congressman with an aggressive brain tumor form an unlikely cohort whose alternating perspectives reveal what they now have in common. All newly emerged into physically healed versions of themselves following a memory transfer, these four are prototypes of SUBlife, a cloning-based alternative to untimely death that provides new and improved substitute bodies. The problem is that no one is the same afterward, or even what other people expect them to be. Hannahs tattoos are gone, David cant stomach coffee or meat, and sensations in general are overpowering. Linda, who was paralyzed, is struggling with communication again after years of only being able to blink. Everything feels too massive, and too terrifying, she thinks. One for no. Two for yes. Things were so much simpler before. Unfortunately, the story never distinguishes itself from its shtick, despite Chiarellas dogged attempts to translate the ideas into a novel. The unrelenting inner monologue of each character becomes banal, and the big challenges of their new lives never feel as interesting or as true as the much smaller details. (Jan.)