The Mindtraveler

Bonnie Rozanski. Bitingduck (www.bitingduckpress.com), $14.99 trade paper (260p) ISBN 978-1-938463-39-6
Rozanski (Banana Kiss) can be forgiven for describing a secret mind-transporting time machine with more comedy than plausibility—complete with headgear that fries the heroine's hair when it malfunctions—because this novel is not so much science fiction as a musing on nostalgia, stagnancy, and regret. Unfortunately, lonely Garriston University physics professor Margaret Braverman's mismanaged affair with colleague Frank Mermonstein is as shallow and tedious at its beginning in 1987 as it is 25 years later. So are the departmental politics whose players remain unchanged even as the politics of the student world move from South African divestment to the Occupy Movement. Margaret-at-60, riding helplessly in the head of Margaret-at-35, seems to have acquired hindsight but no perspective, so her lack of agency yields her a lot of frustration but very little wisdom. Rozanski squanders the opportunity to say something real about women, aging, and the vast changes in American culture in the last few decades, and instead has written a strangely static story where 2012 is just 1987 with better computers and older waitresses. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 02/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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