Monday, May 2, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Mr. Eternity by Aaron Thier

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.

 

Mr. Eternity by Aaron Thier (available on August 9th) is a very odd book. . .odd in a very good way.

There are multiple separate storylines, told in distinct, alternating points of view, taking place over the course of centuries from the distant past to far into the future. Each narrator has a voice appropriate to his or her time period, social class, and education level, making the novel a rather jolting adventure to read. At first, the storylines seem to be linked only by the appearance in each person’s life of a mysterious wanderer named Daniel Dafoe (not the Daniel Dafoe, he says, but there is some ambiguity, since nothing Dan says can be taken literally.)

Daniel Dafoe is on an eternal quest to find the love of his life, Anna Gloria. She’s always just around the bend. Sometimes he thinks she was someone he knew and didn’t recognize until too late; other times, he thinks he has found her but realizes it isn’t her. But the quest drives him on.

As the reader travels deeper into the lives of the narrators more links become apparent, stitching together a remembered history of time–the details are not important, only the essence. The novel is a warning against climate change, but also presents a fatalistic view that the change is inevitable. No warning will prevent the world’s end, but it doesn’t matter because the world has ended many times. In Dafoe’s eyes, everything was once wilderness and is again. The civilization in between was not so impressive either. Yet, except for missing Anna Gloria, he is eternally content with things as they are. Those who come into contact with him try, with varying degrees of success, to emulate his outlook.

At the beginning of the book, I found the read a bit too weird, too contrived, with elements of magical realism that didn’t really appeal to me, and yet, I couldn’t stop reading. Before long, I was totally immersed. If you are looking for something entirely different, I recommend Mr. Eternity.