Do you know those disorienting weeks where you swear Tuesday is Thursday and Thursday is Friday? Time is relative, and more so during a pandemic. Case in point: I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve thought of something and exclaimed, “That happened this year?!”
Now the new year has begun and I can hardly wrap my mind around it.
That, of course, got me thinking about novels that play with the concept of time. There’s time travel and time slips, as well as linear time vs. nonlinear time, the concept of relativity, and more. The pandemic has me relating to these explorations in a brand-new way.
The sky is the limit when it comes to our imagination around time. Time is a construct: these books are playing with or commenting on that construction. It doesn’t hurt that these premises often result in escapist reads. (You’ll be glad to know Emily St. John Mandel’s forthcoming release Sea of Tranquility, out this April, also fits the bill for this category, and I can rattle off a handle of nonfiction books that make my head spin with their theories about time and how it works. But today, fiction.)
12 novels that play with time in interesting ways
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What are your favorite novels that do interesting things with time? Please share your picks in comments!
P.P.S. You’ll notice that we’re deliberately keeping our book lists on the shorter side in 2022. We explained this philosophy in this post about our decision to forego a reading challenge, and in What Should I Read Next episode 313 (“Books that stand the test of time.”)