NO MORE TIME TRAVEL THAN STRICTLY NECESSARY PLEASE
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK REVOLUTION BY JENNIFER DONNELLY.
So, I took a break from reading The Big Book and read a smaller book also on the 6ft tall TBR Pile of Doom — Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Overall, very good. Emotionally gripping. Wasn’t sure about it at first, the emo at the opening felt a bit…obvious. But it all settled down.
And then I found out that Revolution and The Big Book both pull a similar trick. Both jump from modern times to the past. Both have a modern person looking back at the life of a doomed historical person. Both portray the past very, very well, and weave the tension between past and present very, very well.
Then both insert a person from the present into the past — in the case of The Big Book via a play written by one of the modern protagonists, and in Revolution by an actual (or was it all a dream?) act of time travel, via the time honored means of the blow to the head.
In both cases, all that emotional tension drops out of the narrative like air out of a balloon. Both authors have done such a terrific job of creating the separate worlds, the separate problems and the separate POVs the change just feels cheap. Gimmicky. It’s a narrative layer I not only don’t need, I actively don’t want, because what I’ve got has been so lovely.
It’s a lesson about the importance of simplicity, even within complexity. Note to Self: Sometimes it’s worth it not to take that extra step, and flow, familiarity and follow through can be more important and more effective than that final twist.
And no more time travel than strictly necessary.