Review: The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma


The title and the cover of this novel piqued my interest even before I knew what it was about. A faceless man dressed in period clothing standing or walking in the doorway of a library holding a pocket watch. And, after a closer look, what I thought was a fog or mist appears to be an angel hovering behind him.

The Map of Time - the title holds all sorts of possibilities as well. The word ‘map’ indicates travel to exotic and mysterious destinations and the word ‘time’ – well, obviously, there’s some time traveling going on inside those pages. How fun is that!? Waiting for this book to arrive in my mailbox, I felt that shiver of anticipation I always get when I know it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be lost in a great story.

I had all sorts of imagery running through my mind about angels and ghosts but as it turns out I’m very bad at puzzling plots out based on covers! Happily, despite my incorrect assumptions, I quite enjoyed The Map of Time. The book is divided into three distinct, yet connected, parts and there is a nameless narrator (the figure on the cover?) who addresses the reader directly, and at times, humorously, at the beginning of each section and occasionally within the sections. Time travel and H. G. Wells figure prominently in each and one or more of the protagonists in one part will make an appearance in another. It always fascinates me when an author manages to tie a plot together using this story-telling device. It must be difficult to pull off but Mr. Palma does it exceedingly well.

Each character is well-fleshed out. There is background story and context and motivations are clear. The story is filled with the atmospheric squalor that was sometimes Victorian London. Prevailing attitudes regarding women are spot on and speculation by the characters about what the distant future would be like was interesting and sometimes quite funny.

If I were to categorize this book I’d put it in with Drood by Dan Simmons and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – just for the attention to detail and the ability of the writer to take a reader on an adventurous journey not soon forgotten. The Map of Time is loaded with atmosphere and imagination and I highly recommend it.

5 comments:

Laura Fabiani on June 30, 2011 at 4:34 PM said...

I am dying to read this book ever since I saw it on other blogs! I smiled at your obvious attraction to this cover because I felt much the same way. Your review just makes me want to read it all the more sooner. :-)

Aisle B on July 1, 2011 at 4:51 PM said...

When I got the ARC I was floored by it. WOW wow wow. What a cover!

I loved reading this one cover to cover - star struck by the number of lit cameo appearances. Just when you thought you had it figured it out... it changed. Hats off to Nick Caistor for this amazing translation.

Staci on July 1, 2011 at 8:59 PM said...

Sounds like a great story!! I love books that are very imaginative!

TheBookGirl on July 2, 2011 at 10:01 AM said...

How interesting -- for some reason I sort of assumed this was a YA book, but clearly it is a great adult novel. I read H.G. Wells for the first time last year (never was much for sci-fi), and found that I really liked it. This is going on my TBR list - thanks for the great review :)

Nikki-ann on July 9, 2011 at 2:28 PM said...

I love the cover for this book and having read your review I'm definitely going to add it to my ever-growing list! Thanks :)

 

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