Man in the Empty Suit

Man in the Empty Suit

Book rating: 02 Hardback

By (author) Sean Ferrell

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  • Publisher: Soho Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 310 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 234mm x 30mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 2 May 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1616951257
  • ISBN 13: 9781616951252
  • Sales rank: 841,341

Product description

Say you're a time traveler and you've already toured the entirety of human history. After a while, the outside world might lose a little of its luster. That's why this time traveler celebrates his birthday partying with himself. Every year, he travels to an abandoned hotel in New York City in 2071, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, and drinks twelve-year-old Scotch (lots of it) with all the other versions of who he has been and who he will be. Sure, the party is the same year after year, but at least it's one party where he can really, well, be himself.The year he turns 39, though, the party takes a stressful turn for the worse. Before he even makes it into the grand ballroom for a drink he encounters the body of his forty-year-old self, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. As the older versions of himself at the party point out, the onus is on him to figure out what went wrong--he has one year to stop himself from being murdered, or they're all goners. As he follows clues that he may or may not have willingly left for himself, he discovers rampant paranoia and suspicion among his younger selves, and a frightening conspiracy among the Elders. Most complicated of all is a haunting woman possibly named Lily who turns up at the party this year, the first person besides himself he's ever seen at the party. For the first time, he has something to lose. Here's hoping he can save some version of his own life

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Author information

Sean Ferrell's fiction has appeared in journals such as "Electric Literature"'s "The Outlet" and "The Adirondack Review." His short story "Building an Elephant" won The Fulton Prize. His debut novel, "Numb," was described as "eye catching," "daring" and "offbeat." He lives and works, in no particular order, in New York City.

Customer reviews

By Jessica 22 Feb 2013 2

We all know time travel books can be confusing and this one was definitely in that realm for me. It wasn't so much the time travel itself as the multiple characters, who were mostly the same character. All different versions of the main character through the years, meeting at the same location year after year for his birthday. Somehow some, but not all, of the different versions become "untethered" from one another and what happens to one no longer happens to the other. It's this "some, but not all" thing that becomes confusing.

Then some, but not all, of the versions of him follow the "rules" some don't. And I don't think that necessarily coincided with being untethered. Take away all the confusion with that aspect of it and there is a murder mystery under it all. The murder mystery was more interesting than the time travel to me, since the only aspect time travel really played was in having the multiple versions of the character around at once. (Which breaks the rule of most time travel stories I've read - never let your other self interact with your now self.)

I made it through this one hoping that the murder mystery would pull everything together and amaze me, unfortunately it did not and I can't say that I would give it a retry to understand it all.

ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review quote

Praise for Ferrell's first novel, "Numb" "Ferrell's eye-catching debut is a mordant take on contemporary culture."--"Kirkus Reviews""Offbeat.... The book has a lot of heart."--"Publishers Weekly""A quick, fun read, sort of like Chuck Palahniuk meets P.T. Barnum with a shot of Philip K. Dick. Numb fits somewhere on the shelf between satire, science fiction, and literary fiction; recommended for fans of the aforementioned Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut, Max Berry, Chad Kultgen, and Craig Clevenger."--Andrew Shaffer, author of "Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love"