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How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe


Charles Yu

Release Date:


  sci-fi / familial problems lit.  
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I had heard really good things about this book, and i finally sat down to read it. I read it in just a few days -- probably about 4 hours worth of reading time. It is not a dense novel, and Yu has a good, poetical writing style that flows very smoothly.

The novel concerns the life of Charles Yu, who repairs time machines for a living. He is also trying to live outside of time as much as possible, while also searching for his father, who has become lost in time. The book is more about a young man's relationship with his immigrant father than it is about time travel. The time travel concept is the means by which Yu frames his quest to understand how memories are made.

Yu is also is great with humorous situations, such as the fact that the main character's dog doesn't really exist (the time machine repairman is not important enough to have a sidekick), and that he has a service call to repair the time machine of one Linus Skywalker, who crashed it while trying to go back in time to kill his famous father. Although the book is really a character study in how one thinks about one's own parents, these moments keep it light. This book could easily have become too dark, too moody, but the silliness of the sci-fi parts of the story provide a nice counterpoint.

I really enjoyed the book. It was fun and easy to read, but still gives you a lot to think about, as literature should.

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