Let me take a minute to gloat.
A student I have been working with since the beginning of the school year just dominated the standardized test she took today! She had to score a 60% in order to be on grade level and she did it! I am so proud of her! (Her past two test scores are the two 40%.)
Okay, thank you for that moment. Onwards!
Months ago, author Matthew Kagle, sent me a kindle copy of his book, Pinhole, to review.
I cracked open Pinhole in Vietnam, but was interrupted by moving back to the states and job hunting, so I ended up re-starting it once things settled down.
Summary: From Amazon
Humanity began as primitive lungfishes, crawling out from the depths of the sea to escape predators. Humanity will end as sparkles of light, streaming across the empty voids of the universe searching for meaning. Pinhole is about the time travelers who live between what we once were and might someday become. Cassandra knows the future brings her doom but is helpless to stop it. Lionel executes murderers before they can kill but wonders who the real victims are. Dolores is ensnared in a cult that uses a machine to link their minds and bodies. Joseph strives to escape an eight-year loop he’s been trapped in his whole life. Daphne searches for a murderer who kills by giving his victims cancer, but she may be the next target. Moving through time and space, their lives are intertwined, unwittingly tethered together by the same technology they use to change the world.
Recommendation: Recommended as a thought-provoking read
This book was a different style for me as I tend to stick to memoirs and more relationship-based stories. I was excited to read something out of my usual genre, but a bit nervous about how I would like it.
Truthfully, I could not put Pinhole down. To me, it felt like a mix of time travel, sci-fi, action, mystery, and short stories that were all carefully and thoughtfully intertwined. It is a fast-paced plot and Kagle did an awe-inspiring job of creating dynamic characters, that you rooted both for and against at various moments throughout the work. Usually I like a character or I don’t, but these ones had my feelings yoyoing all over the place, which made for an engaging read.
Since Pinhole is based in time travel, but written chronologically, it can feel a bit confusing at times. Once you start to have an “aha!” moment, Kagle switches to another point in time for the reader to puzzle through all over again. That being said, it is definitely the kind of story I want to reread in order to better connect the dots and pick up on all the little clues I may have missed the first time around. Perhaps I will have more “aha!” moments with a second read!
I adore stories that connect seemingly independent characters’ lives together in some way (ala movies like “Love Actually”) and Pinhole happily delivered that style. Especially since the story is about time travel, the reader gets to see the characters at all these various stages of knowing, and not knowing, each other. I loved seeing how their friendships changed and, in most cases, turned deadly.
A fun quiz Kagle put together. I got Purple!
Questions for the author:
Normally when I write book reviews, I list a few questions I would love to ask the author. This time I actually had my questions answered by Matthew Kagle!
1. How did you plan out the story lines and keep them all straight as you were writing? It wasn’t as difficult to plan out all the story lines as you’d think. I had a bunch of time travel story ideas I realized I could link together by overlapping characters. Each story requires a different level of technology, so it was easy to put the stories in order. I wrote a very vague outline (you can see it here: http://icanwritefunny.blogspot.com/2010/10/pinhole-outline.html. Then I just wrote it in order (publishing each chapter on my blog as I did so). Turned out to be easy. Short answer: I’m awesome.
2. Where did your inspiration for all the various story lines come from? Before I wrote Pinhole, I spent many years not writing anything. The ideas just piled up in my head and I kept thinking “I should make that into a movie/novel/short story/national anthem some day.” One day, I just started writing them down. Sometimes, I’d run across someone else’s similar work and have to change the idea. For example, one of the earlier parts of the book (“The List”) bears a resemblance to “The Minority Report.” When the trailer came out, I rushed to the library and found it had been written before I was born. After a conversation with my father, he suggested I change it into what it is now, and the story became better because of it.
3. What else do you have in the works? My next book is going to be more traditional in format. It’s about a researcher trying to understand the memories of an important, historical figure before they kill him. It’s from a nightmare I had in the 90s after a late night watching 12 Monkeys. I’m torn between two titles: A Thousand Secret Sorrows (which sounds a little too Amy Tan) or The Loom of Sorrows (which sounds too textile). Maybe I’ll just call it Harry Potter: Book 8 so I can make a profit.
You can connect with Matthew Kagle through his blog: icanwritefunny.blogspot.com and through twitter: @makagle. Anyone who writes this about himself in his Amazon bio is worth connecting with in my book: “Matthew Kagle is a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, buried in a puzzle, enveloped in a thick layer of chocolate.”
*I was given a free kindle copy of the book to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
RQ: Will Pinhole make it to your book list? Have you ever read a time travel novel? What is your favorite genre?