Time Was

July 11, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

timeTime Was by Ian McDonald

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I’ve seen a lot of reviews that gripe about how the story of this novella doesn’t match the blurb on the back of the book. I get that — you want to read about what’s on the box — but I went into this without knowing what it was about, other than a good introduction to McDonald. What I found was a fantastic story about love, history, and time travel, told as a mystery in some of the most beautiful language I’ve read. I can’t help but feel like those reviewers are missing the forest for the trees for not examining the story on its own terms, instead of how it was sold to them.

I’m very much a function over form reader, though I can appreciate good narrative when it doesn’t overwhelm the story. McDonald is a poet, creating succulent sentences that force you to slow down to appreciate them. He’s also a great storyteller who creates vivid characters to drive a compelling plot. In Time Was, he tells the story of a bookseller who stumbles across a letter in a book of poetry, which in turn leads him down a rabbit trail of history and science.

This is my first time reading Ian McDonald, but it won’t be the last. I’m curious to see what he can do with a full-length novel.

Started: June 14, 2018
Finished: June 17, 2018

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