And Again

Jessica Chiarella. S&S/Touchstone, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1610-0
A sick, faded actress, a young art student with lung cancer, a mother who’s been paralyzed for eight years, and an arrogant congressman with an aggressive brain tumor form an unlikely cohort whose alternating perspectives reveal what they now have in common. All newly emerged into physically healed versions of themselves following a memory “transfer,” these four are prototypes of SUBlife, a cloning-based alternative to untimely death that provides new and improved substitute bodies. The problem is that no one is the same afterward, or even what other people expect them to be. Hannah’s tattoos are gone, David can’t stomach coffee or meat, and sensations in general are overpowering. Linda, who was paralyzed, is struggling with communication again after years of only being able to blink. “Everything feels too massive, and too terrifying,” she thinks. “One for no. Two for yes. Things were so much simpler before.” Unfortunately, the story never distinguishes itself from its shtick, despite Chiarella’s dogged attempts to translate the ideas into a novel. The unrelenting inner monologue of each character becomes banal, and the big challenges of their new lives never feel as interesting or as true as the much smaller details. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/19/2015
Release date: 01/12/2016
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-5011-1611-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-9364-6
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