Dexter Palmer - Version Control

Review :

Every now and then when I'm reading a novel I think, "I want to hold on to this. This is a special experience." I had that thought while reading VERSION CONTROL. I wanted it to last longer, I wanted to read it for a month.

It's not just that I love the way little bits of science-fiction and magical realism suddenly show up in this story, it's also how it manages to be so clearly intelligent and so emotionally wise. If I was on a first date with this book, I'd immediately be trying to figure out if it was into me because I would be desperate for this book to be my partner.

Oh, the joys of this book. There are the things I related to: the world of online dating, a lab full of scientists, the strange back and forth of a marriage in decline. There was also much I didn't: groups of girlfriends on the town, the lethargy of millennial 20-somethings, life after the loss of a child. But every single second of it felt so true and so fully realized that I would have to remind myself that the author was not a scientist, not a millennial woman, and not living in the very-near-future where this book is set. It's very strange to get a book that so fully understands so many aspects of the human condition, that is full of lines you want to read aloud to the person sitting next to you, and is also so bitingly satirical and so right-on with its sci-fi aspects.

I would definitely pair this book with Lauren Groff's FATES AND FURIES, very different characters and stories but definitely structural similarities and emotionally resonant in similar ways.

I did find the Coda (and some of the second part) not quite as strong as the first half of the book, though much of it was due to the fact that both sections required extensive exposition which pulled me out of the book's rhythm a bit.

Almost every year I read a book in the fall that's due for a January release that I know will end up on my best books list (2015: Welcome to Braggsville, 2014: The Weirdness) and that does in fact end up there. This is the one for 2016.


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