Had you told us at the start of the year that we'd be sending you not one but two time travel stories in 2022, we'd assume we had lost the plot, or at least our literary shrewdness. But it just so happens that captivating and accessible time travel novels are a total vibe for literary fiction this year. Might have something to do with the conditions novelists were working under when they wrote the books (hello lockdown and wishing you were in another time) - you can discuss that with your book club.
This month's selection is the delightful This Time Tomorrow by literary superstar Emma Straub. If you're new to Straub, she's a superstar not only because she is the author of several bestselling books, but also because she also owns the independent Brooklyn-based bookstore Books Are Magic. So she's earned her literary chops and knows a thing or two about crafting a good story. Her latest one is a clever, charming and nostalgic novel that uses the playful time travel trope to explore big questions about love - how we give it and receive it - and how small decisions shape a life.
The story is centred around Alice and her single dad Leonard who is ailing in a New York hospital. When Alice wakes up the morning after her 40th birthday (a bender) to find herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday, it isn’t just her unsolicited adolescence that shocks her, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, Alice is able to consider whether there is anything she would change. The result is an utterly absorbing reading experience that is as much fun as it is thought-provoking and poignant. Bonus points for '90s pop culture references galore. As one review described it, "it fizzes like pop and goes down easily while offering nutritional literary value". How could we not share it with you all? Enjoy!