Well, Q can definitely stand for quirky. The premise of this story was intriguing enough: a man is about to get married to Q, the love of his life, but is then visited by a future version of himself, warning him not to go through with it. The narrator, never named throughout the book, changes the course of his life because of a futuristic visit, but it doesn’t stop there. While trying to appease his future self, he constantly keeps changing the path that his life is to take. He’s a writer, but his future self says that he should take up something else instead. He takes up something else, and a different future self says he should try another thing.
I found the narrator to be quite obnoxious. I don’t know if that was what the reader was supposed to feel towards him, but I found him really unbearable to listen to. He often sounded very contrived and self-indulgent. The narrator starts off as a mediocre writer, and there are a few chapters filled with his works in progress. He’s even told by a future version of himself that he isn’t a good writer, yet us as the readers are subjected to sitting through pages and pages of a Freud “what if” story? I found his lack of conviction and how easily he was swayed by these “messages from the future” really irritating. He changed/selected hobbies, careers and love interests at the drop of a hat because his constantly changing future kept telling him to.
Time travel is a tough subject to write about. If not properly thought out and written, it can easily confuse the readers. Evan Mandery alleviates this confusion by having the narrator clarify for himself (and the readers) on how he will refer to his present-day self and any future selves going forward. The pacing of the book varied quite drastically in certain parts. At times I felt the story was lost among the many philosophical tangents that occur throughout the book. And perhaps it’s in the spirit of the time travel theme, but at times it was long drawn out moments and years, but nearing the end of the novel it seemed to just jump from year to year, future self to another future self. After the way the pacing was throughout the book, the conclusion seemed rushed and jumpy. I would have wanted more than quick paragraphs, but perhaps that was building up to the ending.
All that being said, however, the idea of the story was still quite entertaining to read. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to find out what happens to him! The idea for Q is an interesting one, a little reminiscent of being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future from A Christmas Carol.
With all the philosophical themes throughout the story, Mandery brings up a good one that readers can’t help but consider: If you could find out something bad about your future, would you want to know? At what point do you say enough is enough and you just live the life you’re dealt? Who is to say it wouldn’t backfire; that by changing it now, your future would then also be altered anyway?
Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5 stars)