Hazards of Time Travel

Hazards of Time Travel

Book - 2018
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A recklessly idealistic girl tests the limits of her oppressively controlled, dystopian world and is punished by being sent back in time to Wainscotia, Wisconsin, eighty years in the past, only to fall fatefully in love with a fellow exile.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Characteristics: 324 pages ; 24 cm
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062319593


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Jan 07, 2019

I really want to give this book more stars because (A) I love Joyce Carol Oates. LOVE. I even love the trashy potboilers she writes under the nom de plume, Rosamond Smith. She's the greatest! Prolific, imaginative, sets moody scenes and develops characters within an inch of their fictional lives. So I don't hesitate to pick up her books and I RUN to her new stuff. But this? I had to force myself to finish this, just so I could avoid the abject self-loathing that comes with giving up on an author I've always loved. I'm a huge fan of dystopian literature, but think I need to become more critical and selective when deciding what to read.

The Hazards of Time Travel fell short on character development. I'm not saying this book wasn't entirely unbelievable ...that would be idiotic considering the the premise takes place in the very *near* future (as opposed to a sci-fi novel that builds a new world). That would be like my high school English teacher assigning us to write a ghost story, and then penalizing me because my story wasn't "realistic." How can it be realistic when it's not truly grounded in reality? Anyway, while the tone set by Oates was intriguing and pulled me forward, I felt absolutely nothing for the characters. I kept reading because I felt a responsibility to Oates, and I didn't want to start my 2019 reading journey off on the wrong foot. Yes, I overthink these things.

I would still heartily recommend The Hazards of Time Travel to readers who enjoy gloomy, sobering peeks into the future. Readers who are aware of the current state of the world and its trajectory (Globalism) will recognize the socio-political climate Oates establishes here, one that seeks to condition, program, and limit a person's right to free thought and expression. The Hazards of Time Travel will ring true for many, making it a sobering and evocative read.

Oates style and tone is comparable to literary authors like Pat Barker and Jonathan Franzen. This sinister and thought-provoking novel will leave readers who are hungry for menacing tales completely satisfied.

Dec 26, 2018

Premise of book is all too possible and a little scary about questioning authority. Very well written.


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