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Top 10 novels that interrupt time | Ross Raisin

Most stories adhere to linear plots, but a select few – by authors from Martin Amis to Muriel Spark and Toni Morrison – respin the cogs to unforgettable effect Most novels present the passage of characters’ lives in a continuous line. A smaller number, however, disrupt the flow of the line – to interrupt, fracture or even reverse the order of time. I have always been drawn to those books, interested in how a narrative might play with that most basic of plot expectations – change – or, as in one or two of the novels I have listed here, thwart it altogether. The use of time in my new novel, A Hunger, is one of the unorthodox aspects of its storytelling that I most enjoyed figuring out. Time-wise, there are two alternating strands to the novel: the narrator, Anita, in the present, when she is 56, a sous chef in a restaurant and caring for her husband who is living with dementia; the other strand, which she also narrates, follows her life from the age of six. The two strands twist together, so that Anita’s past and present become wrapped around each other, inseparable, as the novel follows her towards a decision about what is the merciful choice for her husband’s life, and for her own. Continue reading...

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