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Sheila Martin
Author, Illustrator
The Time Artist

Night after night for as long as she can remember, Rachel would watch the clock’s second hand annihilating moment after moment. Where did they all go? Is the past still back there somewhere? Is the future out there already?

And now she was faced with a more pressing question: Had she been flung into the future in a terrifying acid trip where she saw a body face down in a puddle of blood, her own hand gripping a smoking revolver?

Over the course of the 1968-69 art school year, nineteen-year-old Rachel Ehrlich is repeatedly and unexpectedly catapulted into what she believes to be her future body—a body over which she has no control—finding clues about the shooting while leaving behind a philosophical zombie in her place. 

But THE TIME ARTIST is about much more.

Rachel, her boyfriend Morgan Reece, and their friends are first-year art students at The Manhattan Academy, a prestigious art, architecture, and engineering college in Greenwich Village, New York. It’s just a few blocks from SoHo, where galleries are springing up for the first time and artists are renting lofts, picking through industrial dumpsters, making underground films, performing guerilla theater, and throwing avant-garde openings and wild loft parties.

Because of its themes of the structure of time and the inner lives of artists, and because it’s also an offbeat mystery and love story, THE TIME ARTIST will appeal to readers of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and the stories of Ted Chiang.

This book is as-of-yet published.

 

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Martin's plot is fast-paced and easily engages the audience. Readers are pulled into Rachel's journey instantly and will hang on for the wild ride. The strong opening provides an immediate hook that will keep readers on the edge of their seat until the novel's conclusion.

Prose/Style: Martin's prose is as sharp and precise as the novel's plot. The descriptions are vivid and robust and make for a delightful read.

Originality: This novel has lots to love for both fans of sci-fi and dark academia. The Manhattan Academy setting is rich and engrossing, and the time-travel elements will likely entice unseasoned fans of the genre.

Character Development: Rachel is a strong protagonist who will ground the reader as they follow her on her wild journey. Morgan is an interesting partner for Rachel, and the arch and growth of their relationship tracks to that of the novel's nicely. The remaining cast of characters helps to round out the story.

Date Submitted: August 29, 2020

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