CBR Bingo – Time (Bingo!) Both because this books plays a bit with timelines, and because I read The Candy House out of the order of publication (which I think was mostly fine).
Having read The Candy House, I was sort of prepared for the style of this novel – a series of chapters that are interrelated, working together to tell a larger story (with a huge cast of characters). I know that some consistent complaints about these books revolve around the fact that there are just SO MANY PEOPLE, it’s hard to care about anyone when you know the next chapter is going to move on to someone else. Minor characters will become the focus of the next chapter, which was a conceit that I just loved. I enjoyed how there was always some sort of connection with the previous chapter and characters, but just as in life, each person had their own full blown drama happening. As in life, those dramas impacted but were not always fully known to everyone in their life, which made stepping into each different character’s moment feel thrilling. You’d get to know a little more about this character’s boss, that character’s ex-girlfriend. A story mentioned in passing in one chapter becomes the central theme of another.
Because I read both books, and out of the order in which they were published, I also knew some things about the characters that deepened my feelings towards them immediately upon reading their names. I knew something about Bix and Rob and Sasha. I knew Miranda as MK, but what a pleasure to meet here here as the disastrous Lou Kline’s girlfriend. I knew a version of Lincoln. It was so interesting to visit these characters from different points in their lives.
It’s difficult to state what this book is “about”. It’s about time, and it’s about music. It’s about friendships and families. It’s about survival and redemption, and the possibility of progress. The prose is truly well written, the characters are achingly human – funny, infuriating, and trying despite their flaws. There are devices, such as a chapter written in power point slides, that I personally found interesting – YMMV, I know others found some of that to be over the top. Personally, I thought it was a lovely way to demonstrate the care that we try to show one another – our limitless possibilities.