Contemplating having an affair, bored with work, and convinced there must be something more to it all, James Quinn is a man just about to enter a mid-life crisis. James leads a successful life. But is it the right life? Instead of a Product Manager in Telecoms, should he have been a plumber, an Olympic athlete, or an artist? Life, as they say, isn’t a practice run. This is it.
Then one day, during the normal underground commute to work in London, he looks up from his book and doesn’t recognise the station name on the Jubilee Line, …and in a split-second, everything changes.
Emerging onto a platform at “New Cross Gate North”, a station that shouldn’t exist, James finds that Canary Wharf has vanished. Gone. And so have Selfridges and mobile phones.
Is the grass really greener on the other side or should he try and find a way back to his old life?
(See Amazon for a fuller description)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a thought that must have struck us all at one time, ‘What if…?’ or something we have idly contemplated but for James Quinn it became more than that.
Think ‘Life on Mars’ meets ‘Sliding Doors’ with a touch of Dan Brown thrown in for good measure. Loved the idea of what might have happened to James had things been different and how he dealt with his new life. The whole concept made me really wonder whether his new life was better than his old life – which one should he choose? I found myself sympathising with his dilemma, especially as the longer he spent in his new life, the higher the stakes became. The scenes between James and his father, I found very poignant and touching.
I thought the old professor from university was a great character. I can’t say physics was ever my subject, but there was enough in here to make the theory plausible and understandable, without it going right over my head.
There are some fun differences in James’ new life – one which brought a wry smile was the trains running on time, always with somewhere to sit and commuters enjoying their journey. Anyone having experienced the rush hour commute into London would understand. 🙂 Other little things were threaded throughout the novel which, again, had me wondering ‘what if?’
I can’t comment too much on the ending, as this would be a terrible spoiler, suffice to say, I have spent all day thinking about it.
There are some great questions at the end to ponder and would make excellent talking points for book clubs.
So, all in all, a really thought provoking read that invokes compassion, understanding, me almost shouting at James at times and a fair bit of day dreaming on my part. Am now off to ride the Jubilee Line, after all, I know how to get back! 😉
London 2012 What if…? can be bought as two separate books or as an Omnibus edition, it was the latter I chose to read.
Links for Ian C P Irvine
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Twitter : @IanCPIrvine
Amazon.co.uk link HERE
Amazon.com link HERE