Author: Elan Mastai
Title: All Our Wrong Todays
Narrator: Elan Mastai
Publication Info: Penguin Audio (2017)
All Our Wrong Todays takes the idea of the dystopian alternate universe and it turns it on its head. In this novel, OUR universe is the dystopia where the narrator/protagonist Tom Barren ends up after a time travel experiment goes wrong. In his world, the invention of a machine that provides unlimited clean energy in 1965 has lead to five decades of remarkable technological advancement, peace, and prosperity.
The great twist in this book is that Barren (known as John Barren in our world) is actually much better off in our timeline. A loser in his world, he’s a successful architect in ours. His father is an aloof genius in his world, but a loving dad in ours. His mother is dead in his timeline but alive in ours. He even has a younger sister who he’s very close to in our timeline.
Tom is faced with the struggle of knowing that he is responsible for changing history to our timeline with pollution, inequality, and war, and inadvertently making billions of lives nonexistent, but also wanting to cling what he’s gained in our world, especially the love of a woman named Penny. Be warned that Tom is kind of a terrible person, and an unsympathetic character, but stick with it as his self-awareness is a strength.
This is an enjoyable and creative novel, and honestly I couldn’t stop listening to it once I started the audiobook.
“The problem with knowing people too well is that their words stop meaning anything and their silences start meaning everything.”
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