Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Chasing the Wolf

I finished Nathan Singer's new novel Chasing the Wolf last night about 2:30. I'll say up-front that I know Nathan Singer but despite my high praise, he hasn't slipped me any payola (although I'm completely open to it).

It has a couple literary elements that I don't regularly care for but it all fits together like a surrealistic jigsaw puzzle. It's like the cyclone from The Wizard of Oz picks you up and you stare through your window at whirling faces who transform from the ordinary into nightmares. Only in this case the cyclone sets you down someplace much darker than Oz.

Although the plot involves time travel, it doesn't have a have a science fiction feel to it at all. Like Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return and Jack Finney's Time and Again, the focus is on the characters, not the mechanics of a time machine but this is far more dangerous. Octavia Butler's Kindred is the closest thing I've ever encountered: dealing with race relations and devotion beyond time.

I'm not normally the type who wants to read a happy-ending version of King Lear or hope for Lear II: Regan's Revenge but in this case I would love to see more of these characters and the world of this novel. Just the theories of Time-walking that one Walker develops are better than any hard-pseudo-science explanation. We get a glimpse of something incredibly intriguing and it ends before I was ready to let go. It's like watching a beautiful woman begin to undress but then she sees you and yanks shut the blinds.

I highly recommend Chasing the Wolf but don't start it at night if you have to wake up early in the morning.

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