**Thank you so much to Penguin Group DUTTON for giving me a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley for the purposes of review**
I don’t usually like comparative blurbs, but the best way I can describe this book is that it’s some sort of combination of Back to the Future meets Dark Matter. There’s time travel, there’s existential crisis, there’s fighting to belong — really, there’s just an awful lot in this book.
It starts in what can only be described as a technological utopia: the world imagined by the 1950’s as what today would be. All problems solved, diseases readily cured or curable. But, of course, that’s not enough. Our protagonist, Tom, doesn’t fit into this utopia: he feels adrift and afloat, unloved by his father who views Tom as a disappointment at best. In a way, I think of something like what The Great Gatsby was poking at: that the idea of the American Dream, the utopia where every problem is seemingly solved, is, ultimately, a lie. That it’ll all come crashing down in the end because we, as humans, continue to want.
Tom lives in a world where, arguably, he has everything. And he is wholly discontent. This is, of course, where the plot comes in: he makes a mistake. He messes up. And so now, basically, the entirety of reality hangs in the balance while Tom is stuck in our 2016. To him, it’s a dystopia nightmare, a hell of our own creation. And yet it is in the perceived hell where people are more “wanting,” where we don’t have everything solved for us, that he starts to find himself fitting in. His father doesn’t look at him with such disdain and he even meets someone — there’s always someone — to whom he feels an electric kind of connection. Perhaps Tom’s soulmate?
What is, on the surface, a story about time travel, ultimately becomes more a story of identity, of self-acceptance, and even (just maybe) a bit about the American Dream and what it really means for something to be “perfect.”