Two Quick Reviews: Time Travel in the Bardo

Hello again friends! It's been a while. I kinda forgot I had a blog. I figured it was time to review two audiobooks I listened to ages ago.



All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. This one had an interesting premise, but in the end fell flat for me.

Tom Barren lives in the present that we should have had. Because of the discovery of a machine that produces infinite free energy, Tom's world is one free of worry. Every "futuristic" item has been invented.

Flying cars? Yep, they got them.

Since people have a lot of time on their hands, they have the ability to invent whatever they can dream up. Including time travel. Tom's dad decides that humans should travel back in time to witness the most important scientific event in history: the day the free energy machine was first turned on. If you think this is a terrible idea, then congrats, you are smarter than this genius. I can't believe no one pointed out what an awful, no good idea this is. So much could go wrong, and guess what? It does.

Tom messes up royally and is trapped in our present time, with our pollution and linear decent into the destruction of the whole planet. Things are bleak, but he is determined to turn things around get things back to the future...I mean present. Whatever.

First, Tom got on my nerves. He's so emo. He pretty much ruins the world because he is sad. Also, I can't believe the thing that made him sad is a thing that happened. So, thanks, Tom. I could have had a robot maid but now I have to scrub my own bathroom because you had a moment.

Me. Sad that I have no robot maid.
Second, the women, though the author tries to make them interesting, are still tropes: emotionless career woman, dream girl who owns a bookstore. They are all there so that Tom can have feelings about things.

Finally, there is a bunch of stuff that happens near the end that I found confusing and was not my jam. It's seems like it would be more impressive visually. Mastai is a screenwriter so that makes sense to me.

All Our Wrong Todays wasn't fun for me, but it could be fun for you.

The audio narration is by the author.

All Our Wrong Todays





Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. There's a lot of hype around this one, and it deserves it. I wasn't going to read it because I was all, Lincoln? Is it going to be political? But no it wasn't. It was very weird but good. Though I think my weird tolerance is high after The Master and Margarita.

President Lincoln's eleven year old son, Willie, has died. He's just been laid to rest, but his soul is trapped here on earth. He's not alone. Many spirits are with him in the cemetery. All believe that they will someday return to the lives they were living before their deaths. Will Willie linger in the bardo with these people unwilling to let go of the past? Or move onto the next part of his journey?

The audio production of Lincoln in the Bardo was excellent. There is a cast of 166 characters. Granted most of those read small sections of text from historical documents (some an invention of the author), but there are some big names voicing the spirit characters: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Don Cheadle, Megan Mullally to name a few. It's quite a production.

Lincoln in the Bardo is about regrets, lost opportunities, and how sometimes life is unfair. It is somber but at times very funny. Life, and death apparently, are filled with the absurd.

Lots of freaky stuff happens in the cemetery
I don't think I can say anymore about Lincoln in the Bardo that hasn't been said already and by better reviewers. It is so good. You should read it, and if possible, listen to the audio.

Lincoln in the Bardo


My thanks to Penguin Random House Audio for the review copies via Volumes. All opinions are my own.

9 comments:

  1. I've decided to skip All Our Wrong Todays but sure would like to read Lincoln in the Bardo.

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  2. I have Lincoln in the Bardo but I pitched it to my book club and it was selected but not until late this year. I will probably hold off to read it with the group. It's gotten some pretty great feedback.

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  3. I really liked Lincoln in the Bardo!

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  4. I'm so glad Lincoln in the Bardo worked for you!

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  5. Welp, okay, you are now the second person to have major issues with All Our Wrong Todays, and I think I must just accept that it's not going to be the book for me. Oh well! It's never a tragedy for me to dump a book by a white American from my reading list; just leaves more room for folks from different backgrounds!

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  6. A screenwriter who reduces women to tropes? Color me shocked.

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  7. Yay! Another fan for Lincoln in the Bardo!! It is weird and wonderful and beautiful and all of those things. I want everyone to read or listen to it and love it!

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  8. All Our Wrong Todays... I held such hope! But it fell flat for me, too. I got no further than chapter 2 before moving on... Ah well. It made me feel better to hear I'm not alone.

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  9. "So, thanks, Tom. I could have had a robot maid but now I have to scrub my own bathroom because you had a moment." Ahahaha this

    I did enjoy All Our Wrong Todays more than you but at the same point, I agree with ALL of your criticisms.

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