Charles Yu is a time-machine repair man who spends most of his time in a pocket universe with just his computer, TAMMY (who's avatar looks like a sexy librarian) and Ed, a dog that exists, yet doesn't. Mentally he's been in a kind of stasis since his father disappeared in time. He rarely visits his mother whose retirement plan is reliving the same hour every hour for the rest of her life. Everything gets thrown off, however, when he sees his future self walking towards him.
I was introduced to Charles Yu via an anthology (Press Start to Play). After reading the entire book, his short story was the one that stuck with me the most, so I knew I had to pick up something else, anything else, that he'd written. When I was at the bookstore, I found this one and bought it. At the checkout, the woman behind the counter even told me "That's a really good book!" So, going in, the standards for this book were set quite high. Yu delivered and then some.
This book is so very different in all the right ways. The combination of scientific, linguistic and narrative terminology to explain time travel was humorous and sensible at the same time. The observations and experiences are poignant and resonated with me long after I finished the book. Though I've never experienced many of the things the main character does, I still felt him to be incredibly relatable. I felt his pain, his dad's pain and his mom's pain. For a book about science fictional universes, this book feels very well steeped in reality. This book made me laugh and almost made me cry.
I really want to talk about plot points, even jokes, but I'm so afraid of giving spoilers. This entire book is an experience and I don't want to ruin that experience for anyone who may read it. I cannot emphasize enough how beautiful this book is to me. The entire experience of perception versus reality, free will versus fate, I immediately wanted to read it all over again.
When I finished reading, I experienced a kind of high that I don't get from a lot of books. The kind where I didn't want to pick up any other books for hours because I was in such a good mood over how beautiful this book is. I smiled for the rest of the night. I'm recommending it to people with even a slight interest in science fiction. 5 Hoots!