The 2013 movie “About Time,” tells the story of a young man who uses his ability to travel back to the recent past in order to change what already happened. This book is similar to the movie in a way, except these protagonists have the ability to see potential futures – traveling forward, rather than back – so that they can make changes now if they so desire. Both stories conclude with a new appreciation for, and commitment to the “now,” but not necessarily by choice.
The Future For Curious People pivots on the idea of centers for “romantic envisioning.” This new popular business allows paying customers to investigate possible futures with particular potential partners. Evelyn Shriner, a 25-year-old librarian, checks out what her future would be like with her boyfriend of two years, Adrian, and decides it is sub-par, so she breaks up with him.
Meanwhile, Godfrey Burkes is pressured by his girlfriend Madge to see the very same envisionist, and there he runs into Evelyn. Godfrey is not only somewhat appalled by the future he sees with Madge, but can’t stop thinking about Evelyn. Nor can Evelyn stop thinking about Godfrey.
Through a convoluted process that you know is inevitable, Godfrey makes his way to Evelyn, with enough obstacles in the path to make Odysseus’s trip to get to Penelope almost seem easier. Along the way, both of them think a lot about love and what it means, and whether or not they want to take the leap of faith required when one can’t know for certain that the future will hold a “happy ending.”
Evaluation: The author’s quirky writing style and ideas about love remind me of author Lydia Netzer in a (good) way. There is a subtle humor and sweetness that underlies the sometimes scathing social commentary, making this ultimately a “meta” love story about love itself.
Published by Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing, 2014