Side Life

8 CDs. Recorded Bks. Jun. 2018. 9:15 hrs. ISBN 9781501987489. $77.75. digital download. SF
After losing control of his own high-tech business, Vin finds himself jobless and depressed. He decides to decompress as a house sitter for an eccentric genius who has mysteriously disappeared. Vin becomes obsessed with the nearly empty home, a bedroom filled with a variety of connected gaming consoles, and his search for the real source of the building's power usage. As he becomes more and more isolated he makes a startling discovery that brings into question the meaning of love, existence, happiness, and fate. Though highly inventive in plot and execution, this sf novel suffers from an inability to set up rules and boundaries, however fantastical, for its own setting. The use of ambiguous pseudoscience explanations further muddies the already murky waters of a novel that takes listeners in and out of elaborate realities. Reader T. Ryder Smith delivers an authentic and nuanced listening experience that assists listeners in distinguishing among the many characters and intricate plotlines. His performance is so compelling that it often provides the primary source for connection between listener and novel.
VERDICT A supplemental purchase for libraries with a high demand for speculative fiction or literary fantasy. ["Toutonghi makes the multiple-worlds theory come alive in this swift moving mind-bender with imperfect, emotionally unstable characters who struggle with the impact their choices have on reality": LJ 4/15/18 starred review of the Soho hc.]

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