Title: The Psychology of Time Travel
Author: Kate Mascarenhas
Published: August 1st 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery
Rating: 3 stars
A time travel murder mystery from a brilliantly original new voice. Perfect for readers of Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven . 1967. Four female scientists invent a time travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril… 2017. Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady… 2018. When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, that strong reek of sulphur. But when the inquest fails to find any answers, she is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?
I was sold on The Psychology of Time Travel, just based on the intriguing title choice and front cover. The front cover is quite deceiving, it features a stitched set of motifs, almost cosy in nature. This is quite a facade, as beneath this novel lies a complex exploration of time travel. The Psychology of Time Travel is aptly titled, this debut novel offers up one of the most in-depth and alternative investigations of time travel I have encountered. The Psychology of Time Travel carefully focuses on the mental health and psychology of those who are involved in this unfathomable concept.
It was with some trepidation that I went into The Psychology of Time Travel. Although I am a great fan of the Back to the Future (who isn’t?) film series, I wasn’t a fan of The Time Traveler’s Wife. In addition, a recent novel I read this year for book club that was based on time travel proved to be too much of challenge for me! Anyhow, I digress, I tried very hard to go into the reading experience of The Psychology of Time Travel with an open mind. I did appreciate many elements of this novel, the transcendence aspect blew my mind, along with the pioneering work of this brave group of intelligent women. However, I encountered my usual problem with time travel books, the non linear narrative irked me, I did get confused despite the helpful chapter headings and this ultimately impacted my overall response to the novel.
For those with an open mind and an ability to gain the upper hand over multiple time zones, this book will dazzle you! For a debut novel, I am particularly impressed by Kate Mascarenhas’s willingness to compose of novel of this magnitude, she is highly ambitious and kudos to her. I also appreciated the feminist slant of this novel, it isn’t your face, it is subtle but I liked this focus, it is a great nod to the novel and film Hidden Figures. What also worked in this novel were the wide range of overarching issues covered from; the justice system, discrimination, family dynamics, moral codes, mental health, friendships, relationships and so much more. The book also carefully begs the reader to place themselves in the position of the female scientists in this story and consider how they would react to being placed in this strange set of events. So much food for thought!
As a bonus, not only is this an analysis of the work and impact of time travel has on small group of women, The Psychology of Time Travel is also a murder mystery with a difference. With factors such as different time zones and possible suspects from the past and future thrown into the mix, this intriguing aspect of the story remains quite ambiguous until the close. Be rest assured, the final few pages are fascinating and it is pleasing to see how Mascarenhas handles the resolution of the murder mystery. I think readers who have invested their time in this novel, will be satisfied by the close of the book.
So despite some reservations and personal difficulties with the structure of the narrative, I did enjoy many elements of The Psychology of Time Travel, it proved to be a revolutionary read. Based on the visionary approach of this debut, I am very keen to see what the author, Kate Mascarenhas, serves up next. I’m sure it will be just as innovative as this one.
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas was published on 1st August 2018 by Harper Collins Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Psychology of Time Travel, Kate Mascarenhas visit here.
*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins Books Australia. To read the original review on the Beauty & Lace website please visit here.