In his ambitious and fiercely inventive new novel, "The Lost Time Accidents," John Wray takes us from turn-of-the-century Viennese salons buzzing with rumors about Einstein's radical new theory to the death camps of World War Two, from the golden age of postwar pulp science fiction to a startling discovery in a Manhattan apartment packed to the ceiling with artifacts of modern life.Read more...
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In his ambitious and fiercely inventive new novel, "The Lost Time Accidents," John Wray takes us from turn-of-the-century Viennese salons buzzing with rumors about Einstein's radical new theory to the death camps of World War Two, from the golden age of postwar pulp science fiction to a startling discovery in a Manhattan apartment packed to the ceiling with artifacts of modern life.
Haunted by a failed love affair and the darkest of family secrets, Waldemar 'Waldy' Tolliver wakes one morning to discover that he has been exiled from the flow of time. The world continues to turn, and Waldy is desperate to find his way back-a journey that forces him to reckon not only with the betrayal at the heart of his doomed romance but also the legacy of his great-grandfather's fatal pursuit of the hidden nature of time itself.
Part madcap adventure, part harrowing family drama, part scientific mystery--and never less than wildly entertaining--"The Lost Time Accidents" is a bold and epic saga set against the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-11-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Wray (Lowboy) delivers a science fiction family epic, the story of the once-illustrious Tolliversand their ongoing search for the secret of timeas related by Waldy Tolliver, the familys lovesick heir. Chapters detailing Waldys affair with the mysterious Mrs. Haven alternate with the lengthy genealogy he composes for her and for posterity, after finding himself trapped in a room where the concepts of present, past, and future have no meaning. He begins with Kaspar and Waldemar (both Tollivers), who follow in the footsteps of their pseudoscientist father, Ottokar, in prewar Vienna, trying to do experiments with time that are inspired by Einstein, while hobnobbing with Gustav Klimt and Karl Wittgenstein. But the brothers are parted when Waldemars theories lead him to participate in the Nazis hideous experiments and Kaspar emigrates with his family to New York. There, his son, Orson, grows up to become a West Village science fiction writer, while his child-prodigy daughter, Enzian, pursues physics. Both children wind up in the United Church of Synchronology, a sect devoted to exploiting the discoveries of Waldemar, with major repercussions for both Mrs. Haven and Waldy, the latter of whom will have to reckon not only with Waldemars legacy but with another refugee from the time streams: Waldemar himself. This novel is clearly a work of great labor, and it shows; Wrays ambition and attention to plotting is praiseworthy, but the structure can be exhausting, and there are instances of quirk standing in for characterization. Nevertheless, readers looking for a fully realized blend of science and history will find a deep world to dive into. (Feb.)