A book that weaves together the tales of a Nazi war criminal and, decades later, his great-nephew who has been removed from the timestream, The Lost Time Accidents is a must-read for fans of family sagas, historical fiction, and Neal Stephenson-style science fiction. Recommended By Ashleigh B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In his ambitious and fiercely inventive new novel, The Lost Time Accidents,
John Wray takes us from turn-of-the-century Viennese salons buzzing
with rumors about Einstein's radical new theory to the death camps of
World War Two, from the golden age of postwar pulp science fiction to a
startling discovery in a Manhattan apartment packed to the ceiling with
artifacts of modern life.
Haunted by a failed love affair and the
darkest of family secrets, Waldemar 'Waldy' Tolliver wakes one morning
to discover that he has been exiled from the flow of time. The world
continues to turn, and Waldy is desperate to find his way back-a journey
that forces him to reckon not only with the betrayal at the heart of
his doomed romance but also the legacy of his great-grandfather's fatal
pursuit of the hidden nature of time itself.
Part madcap adventure, part harrowing family drama, part scientific mystery — and never less than wildly entertaining — The Lost Time Accidents is a bold and epic saga set against the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.
Wray (Lowboy) delivers a science fiction family epic the story of the once illustrious Tollivers—and their ongoing search for the secret of time—as related by Waldy Tolliver the family’s lovesick heir. Chapters detailing Waldy’s affair with the mysterious “Mrs. Haven” alternate with the lengthy genealogy he composes for her and for posterity after finding himself trapped in a room where the concepts of present past and future have no meaning. He begins with Kaspar and Waldemar (both Tollivers) who follow in the footsteps of their pseudoscientist father Ottokar in prewar Vienna trying to do experiments with time that are inspired by Einstein while hobnobbing with Gustav Klimt and Karl Wittgenstein. But the brothers are parted when Waldemar’s theories lead him to participate in the Nazis’ hideous experiments and Kaspar emigrates with his family to New York. There his son Orson grows up to become a West Village science fiction writer while his child prodigy daughter Enzian pursues physics. Both children wind up in the United Church of Synchronology a sect devoted to exploiting the discoveries of Waldemar with major repercussions for both Mrs. Haven and Waldy the latter of whom will have to reckon not only with Waldemar’s legacy but with another refugee from the time streams: Waldemar himself. This novel is clearly a work of great labor and it shows; Wray’s ambition and attention to plotting is praiseworthy but the structure can be exhausting and there are instances of quirk standing in for characterization. Nevertheless readers looking for a fully realized blend of science and history will find a deep world to dive into. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
“John Wray is the next wave of American fiction.” Jonathan Lethem
“John Wray gets his Calvino on, his Mitchell on, his Murakami on, and
even his Joyce on in this spectacular rattlebag of a novel. The Lost Time Accidents circulates
through time and geography — from New York to outer space to Central
Europe — and eventually ebbs eloquently back to the essential questions
of who we are and why we're here. Who says the novel is dead? Just smash
the clocks and open this book.” Colum McCann
"[A]n arresting mosaic of science fiction, history, and philosophy which
proves Wray’s (Lowboy, 2010) remarkable malleability and talent.” Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
John Wray is the author of critically acclaimed novels including Lowboy, The Right Hand of Sleep and Canaan’s Tongue. He was named one of Granta magazine’s Best of Young American Novelists in 2007. The recipient of a Whiting Award, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.