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Paris Adrift by E J Swift. Book Review

February 4, 2018

Paris adrift

Hallie has left her old life behind and made for Paris to start afresh, only to find herself inundated by a whole new set of challenges of a most bizarre nature. A strange woman, reveals another world Hallie would rather not know about, yet the insistent and compelling pull of an anomaly plunges Hallie into greater adventures than she could have ever imagined. Before long she is slipping between past and present and losing herself in the process, a piece at a time.

This is a novel which leaves the reader with a sense of disorientation and that the story is disjointed, as Hallie’s strange time slip world begins to coil itself around her and draw her in. This works well because she has just upended her normal existence and is in the process of having her world destabilised even further through erratic shuttling back and forth from present to past and back again. Her first excursion is the most bewildering as the past whorls around Hallie with ferocious speed and blur of activity from its inhabitants. She has to adjust and fast, because she’s stuck there until the next anomaly occurs.

Hallie’s break from her previous life and relocation to Paris, has forced her to live by her wits until she finds her chaotic job in the bar which has an anomaly in its cellar. All this has prepared her well for these shifts through moments in time. As an intelligent opportunist Hallie quickly adjusts and, left with no choice, sets out to complete the tasks she is set by the Chronometrist (an unpleasant individual who shifts between times by inhabiting bodies and unceremoniously disposing of them when she has finished with them).

E J Swift has done well with the whole concept of time shift and changing the future, as well as the many scenarios that have been packed into this novel. There’s a lot going on, both in terms of plot and relationships (which include a love story). Hallie’s relationships, developed by the author on the fly as the narrative accumulates pace like a snowball down a hill, might on a cursory read give the impression they lack depth. But as Hallie appears to live through a haze, her ability to build close personal connections feels like an achievement. The interactions with her friends from the bar reflect the way Hallie is trying to hold onto reality and build her new life while the process of time shifting is physically and mentally tearing her apart.

Because of this,bthe story creates a constant sense of unease, making the reader yearn for Hallie to lead a normal life, even though the contribution of her journeys, if successful, will change an apocalyptic future for the better.

There is an exciting twist to the tale which raises an interesting debate about the wisdom of sending someone back in time to rewrite the future (how come Dr Who’s self-styled morality hasn’t caused utter chaos? Or has it somewhere along the line, but time is so expansive it somehow eventually becomes evened out?).

Paris Adrift was courtesy of Solaris via NetGalley.

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