the man in the empty suit – sean ferrell

The Man In the Empty Suit

I don’t think that this book comes out until February next year, but I was lucky enough to read an Advance Review Copy.

The narrator is a time-traveller.  Originally born in 1971, he is 39 at the time of telling the story.  Since he started time-travelling at 21, he has been celebrating his birthday in a deserted New York hotel in 2071.

With incarnations of himself every year younger and older than himself, the party has obviously played out the same every time he has been, but he sees it from a different perspective.

There are rules to the party – for instance, noone reveals which age they are and can’t tell any of their younger versions what lies in store for them.

This year though, he gets to be The Suit – a slick-looking version of himself that he has been looking forward to being.

But that’s not all that is wiatign for him this year.  This year, the party is a completely difference experience for him, as he discovers the murder of an obviously very close elder version of himself.

His Elder selves tell him that he has to find out what happened and put things right, and that he only has a year to do it…otherwise they wont exist any more.

There’s no two ways of saying this – the whole concept of this story is a complete and utter headf&*£  What kind of twisted mind would come up with the idea of having a party with yourself every year of your life?  I LOVE IT!!!!  I picture it all a little ‘Being John Malkovich’, but subtley different of course.

It is a complete paradoxical nightmare, and goes against all the ‘rules’ about time travel we have ever been told in various films and books, but it doesn’t matter really because the journey is a fabulous one.

We know excatly what is going to happen when he next attends the party, but we don’t know how HE is going to deal with it.

There is so much that in’t explained – we don’t know how he time-travels (apart from that it’s by ‘raft’), we don’t know how he dicovered / invented his ability.  We don’t know what he usually does for the rest of the year – we don’t even know what year he lives in most of the time – except we know it isn’t 2071.  When he is forced to stay in the area in this year, it’s a strange New York that we experience where resources are scarce, the population is crowded and technology doesn’t seem to exist.

I really enjoyed the story, I enjoyed the pace and the writing style, but I can’t say that I finished it feeling anything other than totally confised!  It has left me wondering and questioning since I put it down though – and that can’t be a bad thing.

It’s very difficult to explain, but I would advise giving it a go as it is totally unique.  It would make an amazingly visual film – although may actually lead to a lot of nightmares!


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