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The Lost Time Accidents: A Novel
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2016
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Description

In his ambitious and fiercely inventive new novel, The Lost Time Accidents, John Wray takes us from turn-of-the-century Viennese salons buzzing with rumors about Einstein's radical new theory to the death camps of World War Two, from the golden age of postwar pulp science fiction to a startling discovery in a Manhattan apartment packed to the ceiling with artifacts of modern life.
Haunted by a failed love affair and the darkest of family secrets, Waldemar 'Waldy' Tolliver wakes one morning to discover that he has been exiled from the flow of time. The world continues to turn, and Waldy is desperate to find his way back-a journey that forces him to reckon not only with the betrayal at the heart of his doomed romance but also the legacy of his great-grandfather's fatal pursuit of the hidden nature of time itself.
Part madcap adventure, part harrowing family drama, part scientific mystery—and never less than wildly entertaining—The Lost Time Accidents is a bold and epic saga set against the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/09/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781429944526
ASIN:
B011I42VY4
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

John Wray. (2016). The Lost Time Accidents: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

John Wray. 2016. The Lost Time Accidents: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

John Wray, The Lost Time Accidents: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

John Wray. The Lost Time Accidents: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:42:58
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: John Wray is the author of critically acclaimed novels including Lowboy, The Right Hand of Sleep and Canaan's Tongue. He was named one of Granta magazine's Best of Young American Novelists in 2007. The recipient of a Whiting Award, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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In his ambitious and fiercely inventive new novel, The Lost Time Accidents, John Wray takes us from turn-of-the-century Viennese salons buzzing with rumors about Einstein's radical new theory to the death camps of World War Two, from the golden age of postwar pulp science fiction to a startling discovery in a Manhattan apartment packed to the ceiling with artifacts of modern life.
Haunted by a failed love affair and the darkest of family secrets, Waldemar 'Waldy' Tolliver wakes one morning to discover that he has been exiled from the flow of time. The world continues to turn, and Waldy is desperate to find his way back-a journey that forces him to reckon not only with the betrayal at the heart of his doomed romance but also the legacy of his great-grandfather's fatal pursuit of the hidden nature of time itself.
Part madcap adventure, part harrowing family drama, part scientific mystery—and never less than wildly entertaining—The Lost Time Accidents is a bold and epic saga set against the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 2, 2015
        Wray (Lowboy) delivers a science fiction family epic, the story of the once-illustrious Tollivers—and their ongoing search for the secret of time—as related by Waldy Tolliver, the family’s lovesick heir. Chapters detailing Waldy’s affair with the mysterious “Mrs. Haven” alternate with the lengthy genealogy he composes for her and for posterity, after finding himself trapped in a room where the concepts of present, past, and future have no meaning. He begins with Kaspar and Waldemar (both Tollivers), who follow in the footsteps of their pseudoscientist father, Ottokar, in prewar Vienna, trying to do experiments with time that are inspired by Einstein, while hobnobbing with Gustav Klimt and Karl Wittgenstein. But the brothers are parted when Waldemar’s theories lead him to participate in the Nazis’ hideous experiments and Kaspar emigrates with his family to New York. There, his son, Orson, grows up to become a West Village science fiction writer, while his child-prodigy daughter, Enzian, pursues physics. Both children wind up in the United Church of Synchronology, a sect devoted to exploiting the discoveries of Waldemar, with major repercussions for both Mrs. Haven and Waldy, the latter of whom will have to reckon not only with Waldemar’s legacy but with another refugee from the time streams: Waldemar himself. This novel is clearly a work of great labor, and it shows; Wray’s ambition and attention to plotting is praiseworthy, but the structure can be exhausting, and there are instances of quirk standing in for characterization. Nevertheless, readers looking for a fully realized blend of science and history will find a deep world to dive into.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 1, 2015
        A sprawling, heady tale of time travel with detours into alternative religion, pulp science fiction, the Holocaust, and much, much--much--more. The fourth novel by Wray (Lowboy, 2009, etc.) is narrated by Waldemar "Waldy" Tolliver, whom we first meet in a Harlem apartment that he claims isn't obeying the typical forward movement of time. That gives him the opportunity to write this book, addressed to a former lover, about how time has long been the family business: his great-grandfather claimed to have sorted out time travel but was killed before he could make his findings known. His two sons continued his investigations, one by experimenting on the occupants of a Nazi death camp; Waldy's father in turn adapted their convoluted efforts into a popular 1960s flower-power sci-fi novel, which inspired a Scientology-esque religion that's entangled the narrator. And "entangled" is the operative word here. Wray aspires to a blend of Michael Chabon's pop-culture-soaked flights of fancy and Jonathan Lethem's humid braininess, and sometimes it clicks: the porn-pulp oeuvre of Waldy's father, and the way it became a hippie totem a la On the Road or Siddhartha, has life and humor, and he crafts an entertaining portrait of his great aunts, occupants of that Harlem apartment so cluttered they evoke the Collyer brothers and who in their heyday were admired for their quirky appreciation of time travel. (Wray cannily ventriloquizes a Joan Didion article on the pair.) But juggling all this family history along with the mechanics of history and Einstein makes this a more plodding novel than it ought to be, especially given Wray's talents and ambition. The story "involves the Gestapo, and the war, and the speed of light, and a card game no one plays anymore," as Waldy puts it, but its moving parts mesh stiffly. An omnium-gatherum of 20th-century physics and spirituality that ultimately gathers too much.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from December 15, 2015
        Ottokar Gottfriedens Toula, a pickler in the imperial backwater of Znojmo, Moravia, was on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough before his findings about time travel were smothered by a genius patent clerk from Germany with a radical theory of relativity. Ottokar's unrealized ambition becomes the Toula family burden, and successive generations, beginning with his sons, Waldemar and Kaspar, get infected by the syndrome, an obsession to figure out what Ottokar scrawled in his notebook and give him his due place in history. Ottokar's great-grandson Waldemar Waldy Tolliver narrates this story, an arresting mosaic of science fiction, history, and philosophy that proves Wray's (Lowboy, 2010) remarkable malleability and talent. The novel tracks the Toula/Tolliver descendants over much of the twentieth century as they move from pre-war Austria to life in the New World. Devastatingly, the younger of Ottokar's sons, Waldemar, morphs into the Black Timekeeper of Aschenwald-Czas, using his father's scientific theories to horrific effect by choosing to side with the Third Reich. This wrenching guiltover the family's implicit condonement of Waldemar's unimaginable brutality by looking the other waywill prove to be their collective, crushing burden, even more so than some nonsense scribbled in a notebook. History's stains, Wray expertly shows, cannot be whitewashed in a hurry.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2016

        This new work from the author of Lowboy is an outrageous, playful, and wildly ambitious novel about the nature of time and love. The action spans the globe over 100 years as it follows multiple generations of an eccentric, brilliant, and perhaps unhinged family. The novel begins in Moravia in the early 1900s with what may be an important scientific breakthrough about the way time works by the family's patriarch, Ottokar Gottfriedens Toula. He's a pickle maker by trade and an amateur physicist who discovers that current time exists synchronistically and fluidly with every other lived moment--and thus can be traversed. Ottokar's untimely demise in the streets of Znojmo, Moravia, soon after he documents his theory leaves much that is tantalizingly unexplained, and this mystery becomes a kind of curse for the family as successive generations grow obsessed with what it may or may not reveal about their own lives and their dark family past. Wray handles this all masterfully, blending sf, quantum physics, traditional realism, magic realism, and even a love story skillfully and poignantly. VERDICT Enthusiastically recommended for fans of bold and inventive literary fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 8/3/15.]--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2015

        Named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists in 2007, Wray offers an intriguing take on the time travel novel, with protagonist Waldemar "Waldy" Tolliver discovering that he's been shoved out of the passage of time and, as he rushes to reenter, learning why his love affair is doomed.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

In his ambitious and fiercely inventive new novel, The Lost Time Accidents, John Wray takes us from turn-of-the-century Viennese salons buzzing with rumors about Einstein's radical new theory to the death camps of World War Two, from the golden age of postwar pulp science fiction to a startling discovery in a Manhattan apartment packed to the ceiling with artifacts of modern life.
Haunted by a failed love affair and the darkest of family secrets, Waldemar 'Waldy' Tolliver wakes one morning to discover that he has been exiled from the flow of time. The world continues to turn, and Waldy is desperate to find his way back-a journey that forces him to reckon not only with the betrayal at the heart of his doomed romance but also the legacy of his great-grandfather's fatal pursuit of the hidden nature of time itself.
Part madcap adventure, part harrowing family drama, part scientific mystery—and never less than wildly entertaining—The Lost Time...

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