A punk-rock time-travel love story for the ages—all of them.
When Karl Bender finds a time machine in his closet, he does what any other 40-year-old former musician would do: goes to every awesome concert he can think of. Naturally, he and his friend Wayne quickly set up a side business sending customers from his bar into the past, but only for rock concerts, judging those who choose Woodstock over his favorites, like Elvis Costello in New York, 1991, and Stereolab in Chicago, 1998. Concerts are it, and there are lots of rules; changing the past is not permitted. After Wayne goes rogue by trying to save John Lennon’s life and gets stuck in 1980 Manhattan, Karl hunts for an astrophysicist to get his friend back and finds Lena Geduldig, a Northwestern student who’s down on her luck and willing to help in part because she loved Karl’s old band. Lena and Karl start breaking all the rules of time travel, both for Wayne and for their blossoming relationship—and then Karl gets an email from his future self, breaking his life wide open. As the plot begins to time travel along with Karl, the story stays true to its core and is easy to follow, with new revelations on each journey. Daviau is ferocious with her sad and flawed characters, whose pain propels the story through several iterations. Because the tale keeps changing with every visit to the future, the book doesn’t end the way even its characters expect it to but is satisfying nonetheless.
A dark and funny love story that, like its main characters, is much sweeter than it appears on the surface.