Atomic Anna

Hachette Audio. Apr. 2022. 15:30 hrs. ISBN 9781549102486. $25.98. F
Barenbaum’s (A Bend in the Stars) latest balances hard science fiction and strong relationship fiction within a narrative featuring Anna, who creates a time machine to avert nuclear disaster. This complex story mirrors the time travel aspect by adding new layers of plot atop the old, as if creating the literary version of stratigraphy. These layers are sometimes the result of Anna’s changes to the timeline, but at other points are perfect examples of a central tenet of the novel: time happens all at once. The deft narration of Traci Odom, Natalie Naudus, Emily Lawrence, and Zachary Johnson contributes additional layers to the narrative, further demonstrating how people’s perceptions of events differ, yet come together to create a cohesive record. Anna and her future family members are narrated in ways that highlight their individual brilliances and how they struggle against aspects of their personalities that may keep them from reaching their goals, whether those are related to time travel, family, or simple happiness.
VERDICT Listeners will practically ache with anticipation, waiting for the family to finally come together (and, one hopes, not die).
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