cover image Oona Out of Order

Oona Out of Order

Margarita Montimore. Flatiron, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-23660-9

In Montimore’s whimsical second novel (after Asleep from Day), a woman experiences the unsettling effects of time travel. In Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve, 1982, the day before college student Oona Lockhart’s 19th birthday, Oona is more interested in the rock band she has just joined, and particularly its guitarist, Dale. As the ball drops, Oona feels an odd sensation (“Escalating heat stirred within her as particles scrambled to escape and rearrange, but not now and not here”), and then finds herself in the body of her 51-year-old self in 2015, surprised to be living in a brownstone instead of the SoHo loft she’d imagined sharing with Dale. There, a personal assistant recites a message from Oona’s younger self explaining that she will be bouncing around in time through all the years of her life, hitting each only once, always making the change as the new year begins. As the years flash forward and back, Oona comes to life as a reckless club kid, a grieving older woman, and a wife who has no memory of her husband. Montimore sustains the concept by rooting the story in Oona’s relationships, employing sparkling humor as Oona struggles to make sense of each year’s new circumstances. This witty, fantastical exploration of life’s inevitable changes is surprising and touching. (Feb.)