Book Review: The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

22 Dec

Genre: Literary fiction/Science fiction

Publisher: Harper Collins

Pub date: 9 June 2011

Source: Personal copy

Originally written in Spanish, translated into English by Nick Caistor.

Synopsis (From GoodReads)

Andrew Harrington is young, wealthy and heartbroken. His lover Marie Kelly was murdered by Jack Ripper and he longs to turn back the clock and save her.

Meanwhile, Claire Haggerty rails against the position of women in Victorian society. Forever being matched with men her family consider suitable, she yearns for a time when she can be free to love whom she chooses.

But hidden in the attic of popular author – and noted scientific speculator – H.G. Wells is a machine that will change everything. As their quests converge, it becomes clear that time is the problem – to escape it, to change it, might offer them the hope they need…

Review

I’m going to start by saying I just loved this book. Go out and buy it and read it. Gift it to everyone. Do I have to explain? Okay, then.

The Map of Time is a delightful novel that defies genre – it’s science fiction, historical fiction and for its sheer brilliance and narrative delight – literary fiction. Combining events and people from history with completely made-up stories, Palma takes the reader on a mind-bending adventure. It keeps you guessing – is this really happening? Are the characters being fooled? Am I?

Victorian London is being terrorised by Jack the Ripper. It is also a time of great scientific enquiry. H.G. Wells has published Time Machine, making everyone wonder if time travel was really possible.

These three stories revolve around H.G. Wells and his time machine. While Wells is almost a bystander in the first two stories, he is the protagonist in the third one. The unexpected twists and turns didn’t get old for me. Fact and fiction were mixed so smoothly that it is impossible when you’re in the middle of the story to separate the two. Characters from history like The Elephant Man, Bram Stoker, and Henry James all make an appearance.

Written with a definite Victorian feel, Palma addresses his readers, making comments about the story and the characters. Delightful!

I could go on about it and still not do justice to this first-rate novel. I say again, read it!

Verdict

Highly recommended for the discerning reader. Although this was one my favourite reads of the year, I know that it won’t rock everyone’s boat. The novel is huge, at over 600 pages, and doesn’t quite cater to fans of science fiction. But anyone who loves novels from the Victorian era, has a huge crush on H.G Wells, still tries to solve the Jack the Ripper murders, and can appreciate a sly, twisted sense of humour, should not miss The Map of Time.

Rating: 5*

*See my Rating policy

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© Stargazerpuj and Stargazerpuj’s Book Blog, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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3 Responses to “Book Review: The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma”

  1. Jennifer, bookspersonally December 22, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    wonderful review – sounds like an intriguing and transporting story!

    • stargazerpuj December 22, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      It really is – I want everyone to read it!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2011: Bookish Snapshots « Stargazerpuj's Book Blog - December 30, 2011

    […] Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill The Taker by Alma Katsu Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma This Burns My Heart by Samuel […]

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