Vassanji, M. G.
This was a frustrating book for me. I am really into speculative fiction/realistic or near sci fi, so in theory this book is right up my alley. In the end I just feel like I wasted 2 weeks of my life reading something very unsatisfying. It centres around the life of a memory therapist, of sorts. He works in a world where humans have the ability to literally start over, new consciouness, new body etc - and live on indefinitely. Except that some previous iterations of memory, stored data, leaks through from time to time, and it can be lethal. The condition is called Nostalgia - hence the name. This doctor is captivated by a patient and warned off by a mysterious government department. A journalist is kidnapped by rebels beyond their borders. Everything is loosely connected. It's mostly told from his perspective, occasionally shifting to a journal entry of his or another characters - though without much reason or effect. Maybe I'm being fussy about punctuation, but I found it really distracting that dialogue was told through a series of endashes (-- I would like to go out for some coffee). To make matters worse, the worldbuilding was really weak here. I got no sense of place (except for one river that the Dr. seems to walk along alot), something I think is hugely important in speculative fiction. There are some really interesting ideas here (especially for fans of Westworld) but if you've come to this because it's a Canada Reads choice, be warned: it's not that great a book. Check out The Break instead.
Jackie (Hespeler Library)