cover image Flux


Jinwoo Chong. Melville House, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-68589-034-6

Three timelines converge in Chong’s mind-bending debut, a subtle and moving exploration of grief and pop culture. After eight-year-old Bo’s mother dies in a traffic accident, his mind keeps flashing to scenes from his favorite TV show for comfort. Brandon, 28, loses his job, falls down an elevator shaft, and emerges with a mysterious new employment opportunity. And Blue, 48, temporarily recovers the ability to speak after almost two decades of being mute to give a tour of the abandoned corporate building where he blew the whistle on the deaths of three employees. Woven throughout are detailed essays on fictional ’80s show Raider from the analytical but relentlessly forgiving point of view that only a superfan could have. How do these disparate pieces fall into place? Time travel, partly. The author slowly and cleverly illuminates the connections between the show and the characters, highlighting the regret and loss all three have experienced. Chong writes with such subtlety and skill that readers won’t realize the true nature of the speculative mystery at play until they’re already waist-deep in these interlocking narratives. The result is a gorgeous speculative gem for fans of Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose the Time War. Agent: Danielle Bukowski, Sterling Lord Literistic (Mar.)