Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Book Review: The Map of Time by Felix Palma

Last week  Felix Palma's The Map of Time appeared on the New York Times, I had just finished Ann Patchett's State of Wonder and was looking for something a little less 'summer novel' and a bit more 'original work of fiction'. From the publisher's description I thought The Map of Time was right up my alley.

Publisher's Summary
Set in Victorian London, with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history? FĂ©lix J. Palma explores this question in The Map of Time, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting—a story full of love and adventure that transports listeners to a haunting setting in Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.

The Map of Time is essentially divided into three parts - the story and time travel of wealthy Andrew - who has lost his true love and wishes to save her from the past; present day (1898) Claire bored with eligible bachelors in her own time falls in love with a hero from the future (May 5th, 2000) and in the third part the life of H.G. Wells author of  'The Time Machine' who's inventive novel starts it all! It was interesting that all three sections could have easily stood on their own as short stories with equally satisfying results.

There were some times- particularly in the first third of the novel where I found myself impatient with the author and annoyed at the concepts of fiction that he presented. It was almost a struggle with disbelief - I didn't 'buy' the explanations offered for various technologies. However, dear reader, it's imperative to stick through these omissions and explanations to understand the rest of the novel - and the genius within. There will be an ah-ha! moment or moments that will make all of the yarns and pieces complete. In the end thoroughly enjoyed The Map of Time - nearly always staying back in the car at my destination to get through just a little bit more before I left my friends in the past.

The Map of Time was narrated by James Langton, who captured the role of observer and storyteller perfectly - the novel was a great story, Mr Langton's narration enhances that story into something so much more.If there was any criticism it was that at times Mr. Langton's normal speech was slower than I wanted to get through the story. C'mon, C'mon hurry up! This is not surprising with a novel of this duration and for me, this was easily solved with playback at 1.5x.

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma was published by Simon & Schuster Audio and was released on June 28th, 2011. The Map of time has an unabridged runtime of 20 hours 14 minutes.


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