Top critical review
473 people found this helpful
Back to the Future?
on December 4, 2013
Please explain to me where I am wrong, and I'll delete this review. (I haven't yet finished reading the novel, but have enough information to establish an opinion about the flow, the pace, the plot. But that's not what concerns me today.)
OK, the narrator starts out by saying he is 27 years old and recalls events which happened 14 years earlier, correct? Let us be generous and say it is 2013 in this critically acclaimed novel (although it must have been written and finished earlier than this year), and 14 years earlier when the narrator was 13 years old was, let's see, 1999, right? (D'uh!) (I've found no indications that the narration starts out in the future!) Everyone in this novel has a cellphone. The 13 year old narrator has an iPod. The iPod was introduced by Apple in 2001. There are references to Harry Potter. OK, the first Harry Potter volume was published in 1997. What about the reference to the shoe bomber? (2001 as well.) Las Vegas, we are made to understand, is undergoing a housing crisis in 1999, abandoned homes, desert reclaiming developments, cheap rents (check yourself if that is true for the late 1990s.) Well, at least the 1933 movie "SOS Iceberg" checks out, although how and where these 13 year old characters had heard of such an obscure film is not explained.
And if the narrative is indeed in the future and time remembered by the narrator now in 2013, then how many 13 year olds today (or anyone?) would know or remember the shoe bomber of 2001?
More. Theo's Las Vegas pal is for an unexplained reason tri-national, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian. Or is the reason to show his vast knowledge of obscenities in three and more (he's widely traveled) languages? You should savor the conversations between Theo and this Boris (or Borys in Ukrainian, as the author sees necessary to inform us), endless exchanges of eF words, and later on cryptic cellphone text messages (again in 1999, at the latest.)
You can mess with geography and weather in fiction. You can invent events, such as the museum bombing in this novel, invent cities and streets, businesses on existing streets, but when you start messing with time, you've entered the science fiction category and even science fiction has its rules which this novel does not seem to observe. End result is a confused, distracted reader.