We’ve had a bunch of timeloop movies and stories by this time, but they always end up more or less doing the same thing. Working toward fixing the problem of the timeloop, which is almost always one single day. Even the game Deathloop, which I loved, did more or less the same thing. In this novel though the timeloop is a solid ten years, and more so, no one is allowed to do anything different, and the only thing that changes is what people are thinking. This is the premise.
But also, it’s not the premise of this novel. It’s the premise of a novel that Kurt Vonnegut, our narrator and author didn’t write. But he almost did. Instead, he wrote this book, about that book, the one he didn’t write.
Instead of a movie where someone has a chance to fix something they don’t like about themselves or that has failed them, this is a novel about regret and irrevocability. It’s also about memory. The timequake in the title is a metaphor, even though it really happens, for the process looking back at your life and knowing the things that led you to this moment, about not being able to do anything about them, but being able to think about them. For some people, this is of course a curse. Maybe that 10 years involved a lot of suffering or pain, or your own shitty actions. Maybe for others it was marked by joy and happiness. But for most people, the novel suggests, it just was. I guess Kurt Vonnegut might say: so it goes.