The third of Clovis’ (Six Doors Down, 2017, etc.) Princeton-centric novels uses time travel to examine how discrimination has changed or stayed relatively the same.
A recurring theme in the author’s trilogy is synchronicity, Carl Jung’s notion of “meaningful coincidence.” In her latest installment, Clovis addresses the possibility of traveling to the past and future via consciousness. This opens up discussions on crucial issues, both in their current state and throughout history. For example, there’s been an increase in anti-Semitic attacks since the start of the Trump administration, hate-fueled incidents the author equates with the Holocaust. “Learning the truth of the past and educating future generations,” she notes, “will begin the process of change.” She drives home her point by delving into the concept of parallel worlds. February 2017 global protests to stop the U.S. government from denying Syrian refugees entry is a potential reflection of historical change; in other words, a parallel world without the demonstrations could be considerably worse. As in Clovis’ preceding books, Princeton University is the hub for various tales, from personal accounts to a charter school’s increased budget adversely affecting public schools. But the town of Princeton is especially suitable to this novel; as a sanctuary city, it’s largely protected from Donald Trump’s recent immigrant deportation orders. In addition to racial and religious intolerance, Clovis perceptively tackles other subjects, like new journalism (Facebook as a subpar news source). She retains her effective time motif even in lighthearted moments: university students having to duck out of long lectures to feed parking meters. Most winsome, however, is the story of Clovis giving a heart-shaped pin to Carnethia (mother to Ida B., about whom the author’s previously written), a blue-collar university employee. The pin becomes a “souvenir of time travel,” somehow making its way back to the author. Readers of her earlier works will come to expect Clovis’ precise, striking descriptions: “The green-aged slate plates of roof hold folded, pale yellow, dim-lit, multi-paned windows that reflect the daylight.”
An insightful and earnest collection of stories centered on a sanctuary city.