Sunday, July 03, 2011

Book Review: "The Map of Time"

Félix Palma's The Map of Time (Atria, 2011), the Spanish author's English-language debut, is quite a curious book. Told in three separate but connected novellas, populated by an extensive cast of characters historical (H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Jack the Ripper) and fictional, the book features time travel, meta-narrative, steampunk, and a rip-roaring, fast-paced romp through the streets of Victorian London.

While there were elements of the book that I didn't enjoy particularly well (some of the dialogue seemed unnaturally expository, there were a few moments where I questioned the continuity of the narrative and the apparent disappearance of certain interesting plot threads, and the narrator got overly intrusive at a few points), on the whole it made for a delightful read; Palma's complicated universe (which in some sections very closely resembles that described in The Time Traveler's Wife) kept me guessing from first to last.

There are, it would seem, two more installments to come, so we may have another chance to drop into the mysterious and fascinating world Palma has brought to life here.

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