It was purely coincidence that the titles I chose are set in the past, present, and future. Each differ in tone, topic, and genre, they are nonetheless unpredictable and compelling.
Donna Has Left the Building by Susan Jane Gilman does not follow the usual midlife crisis formula. Gilman said she wanted to explore, “What if Odysseus were a perimenopausal, former-punk rock, Gen-X woman in today’s world? What would that journey look like?”
Publisher’s Summary: Donna Koczynski is a wife, mother, former punk rocker, and a recovering alcoholic whose life detonates spectacularly one day after a fateful trip to Las Vegas. In a fog of rage and pharmaceuticals, Donna tears off on a blind pilgrimage across America to reclaim everything she believes she’s lost since her wild youth: Great friendship, passionate love, and her music. Yet as she careens from Detroit to New York to Tennessee in her Subaru, nothing turns out as planned. She spirals downwards through the rabbit hole of modern-day America until landing, ultimately, on the other side of the globe. On a remote island embroiled in an epic crisis, she wakes up to a world and a reality far greater than her own.
Gilman, is the author of The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street and Undress me in the Temple of Heaven is a best selling author. Although Donna Has Left the Building is considered funny and racy, Gilman addresses very dark issues and is an insightful look at the world we find ourselves in.
Recursion by Blake Crouch is not technically set in the present, but it’s certainly futuristic. You may want to read it now since Netflix announced that Shonda Rhimes and Matt Reeves would jointly adapt Recursion as both a movie and a series.
Publisher’s Summary: Memory makes reality.
That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?
Novelist Dominic Smith delves into the era of the silent film in The Electric Hotel.
Publisher’s Summary: A sweeping work of historical fiction from the New York Times–bestselling author Dominic Smith, The Electric Hotel is a spellbinding story of art and love. For more than thirty years, Claude Ballard has been living at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel. A French pioneer of silent films who started out as a concession agent for the Lumière brothers, the inventors of cinema, Claude now spends his days foraging for mushrooms in the hills of Los Angeles and taking photographs of runaways and the striplings along Sunset Boulevard. But when a film history student comes to interview Claude about The Electric Hotel —the lost masterpiece that bankrupted him and ended the career of his muse, Sabine Montrose—the past comes surging back. In his run-down hotel suite, the ravages of the past are waiting to be excavated: celluloid fragments in desperate need of restoration, as well as Claude’s memories of the woman who inspired and beguiled him. The Electric Hotel is a portrait of a man entranced by the magic of movie-making, a luminous romance, and a whirlwind trip through early cinema. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Also by Dominic Smith: The Last Painting of Sara De Vos
Happy Reading, Susan C.