Friday, December 02, 2011

The Map of Time

The Map of TimeThe Map of Time by Félix J. Palma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm not in love.

I thought I'd be in love. I wanted to be in love, but I'm not.

The Map of Time is written in three sections. I finished the first section, and it just about everything was adequately tied up, and so when I set the book down to sleep the night I finished that part, I didn't feel compelled to pick it up again.

My distaste for leaving stories unread will likely lead me to pick it up again at some point in time to finish, but I'm not eager to do so.  Palma does weave an interesting tale, but the way it's written is hard for me to enjoy.  Palma is a short story artist, and as such, the tale is chopped into little short stories which in combination add to the overall story arc. The problem is, when I become invested in something, not only does the author pause that story, but instead begins to tell a side character's mostly unrelated anecdotal back story.

Perhaps if I did not have so little time available to read, I would enjoy this halting story telling style more.  I want to. I really want to, but alas, I can not.

I suppose (spoiler alert, kind of) the fact that the tale begins with a main character's decision, plan, and actions to kill himself, detracts from my ability to love this story quite as much as I'd like to.  More and more, when I read this sort of thing, I am reminded of all the people I know who have killed themselves, and it is quite disturbing, and does not lend, at all, to the likability of any of the characters.

Interestingly, it seems Palma is uninterested in his characters' likability, which, of course, may also have something to do with why I don't love this story. I like likable characters. Go figure, right?  Yes, I want my characters complicated, flawed, and deeply human (or inhuman, if the plot calls for it) but with the sorts of saving graces that make them inherently likable.  So far, in the first third of The Map of Time, I have yet to meet any particularly likable character.

Well, I'm sure my opinion will change, at least slightly, by the time I finish it, but for now?  If you're looking for a great time travel romp, I can't really recommend it. It's okay, but I only want to recommend wonderful.

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