Emma Straub’s charming novel follows Alice, a woman deep in anticipatory grief, whose father, a science fiction writer with a cult following, lies on his death bed. She overdoes a night out on her 40th birthday, to awaken the next morning as her 16-year-old self, overhearing the familiar sound of her young father’s morning preparations, “the coffee grinder, the slippered shuffle down the hall.”
Straub’s characters are subtly drawn, multi-layered and feel fully alive. Her novel is an ode both to science fiction and to fathers who write (like Straub’s own). Together this father and daughter navigate the New York of 1996 and the bittersweet limits of time travel, while in her modern life Alice lovingly satirizes the Upper West Side with riffs on the many kinds of rich people who live there. Straub’s novel entertains, while also exploring weighty topics of grief and regret. A good read for anyone struggling with similar life themes.
Ann Scott, Head Librarian/Exec. Dir., Nantucket Atheneum