All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
A Rapid Review
Publisher: Dutton Books, Penguin Audio | February 2017
Format: 384 Pages | 10 hours | Rating: 4½ stars
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate
All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.
What’s it about . . .
Tom Barren comes from an alternate year 2016. The world he lives in is the one people in the 1950s imagined we would have — flying cars, moving sidewalks, moon bases, unlimited energy and resources, and time-travel. When Tom makes a trip to the past to observe a historic occasion, he accidentally interferes and changes the future. He activates the emergency recall back to 2016, but when he gets back he finds himself in our 2016 instead of the one he came from.
What did I think . . .
This is a clever twist on the time-travel theme. Once Tom returns to the present, he needs to adjust to a lot of changes. The timeline had diverged with some subtle changes and some quite drastic. There is some science and techo stuff, but this is also a story about relationships – Tom’s family, his girlfriend, his career.
The story is told mostly in the first person and had the feel of a memoir. The book does switch to the third person a few times and we get a summary or recap of what has happened to Tom. The beginning was a little slow but picks up once we get past the initial world building. Most of the book takes place in our timeline, but we need to know about Tom’s world in order to understand him.
I found the story lighthearted, entertaining, and at times humorous. While this is definitely scifi, it’s not confusing or difficult to follow, and there is enough story about relationships and even a few romances to keep other genre readers entertained.
I read the eGalley and also listened to the audio. The narration was performed by the author. While it very listenable and pleasant, and he gave the character Tom a lot of feeling, at times the pacing was uneven.
I am not usually a fan of author’s reading their own books unless they are a professional speaker or actor. I listen to a lot of audio so I notice the difference right away. However, despite the uneven pacing, this was good, and I would recommend giving the audiobook a try for those who enjoy the format.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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