Man in the Empty SuitHardback
- 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: 756,144
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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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.
By Jessica 22 Feb 2013
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.
Praise for "Man in the Empty Suit" "Ferrell's humor and invention will draw you in, and the real emotion in his writing will keep you reading. A clever premise that deepens into a surprising and moving story about fate, identity, and how we shape our own lives and the lives of those around us." --Charles Yu, author of "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" "A tour de force. Ferrell's skill in plotting is matched only by his ability to bring fully-formed characters to life. A moving and brilliantly-executed puzzle of a novel." --Emily St. JohnMandel, author of "The Lola Quartet" "Ferrell makes a strong case to be the Kurt Vonnegut of his generation. "Man in the Empty Suit" is alternately funny, sad, and thought-provoking.... I wish I could travel back in time and write this book myself." --Andrew Shaffer, bestselling author of "Fifty Shames of Earl Grey" ""Man in the Empty Suit" is a marvel: a complicated, soul searching, entirely riveting piece of work." --Marcy Dermansky, author of "Bad Marie" "An arresting setup--the same character is simultaneously the murder victim, suspect, and investigator--and Ferrell exploits it carefully... [presenting] the reader with some ugly truths about life and owning up to who we really are. Ferrell himself has jokingly called it the time-travel book of 3102, but I wouldn't suggest waiting that long." --"The Atlantic" "["Man in the Empty Suit" has] an ingenious setup....Both "Looper" and "Man In The Empty Suit" track the trajectory of a pained, lonely man who learns what it means to sacrifice for the sake of another's well-being." --The A.V. Club "Ferrell's novel satisfies as both a tale of a four-dimensional conspiracy and as a stark meditation on solitude." --"Minneapolis Star-Tribune " "An exceptional read for any sci-fi fan who enjoys a challenge." "--The Maine Edge" "Ferrell ("Numb") has written a brain-teasing, paradox-defyi