28 November 2016

Review #561: Mr. Eternity by Aaron Thier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”

----Virginia Woolf

Aaron Thier, an American author, has penned a terrific and gripping tale of evolving American history through thousands of ages in his new book, Mr. Eternity centered around an almost thousand years old ancient mariner who has survived through various civilizations in American history and has witnessed the sociological and environmental changes of the planet, who is actually on a quest to search his lady love.


Key West, 2016. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying. In short, everything is going to hell. It's here that two young filmmakers find something to believe in: an old sailor who calls himself Daniel Defoe and claims to be five hundred sixty years old.

In fact, old Dan is in the prime of his life. It's an incredible, perhaps eternal American life, which Mr. Eternity imagines over a millennium: a parade of conquistadors and plantation owners, lusty mermaids and dissatisfied princesses, picking up in the sixteenth century in the Vice royalty of New Granada and continuing into the twenty-sixth, where, in the future Democratic Federation of Mississippi States, Dan serves as an adviser to the King of St. Louis. Some things remain constant throughout the centuries, and being on the edge of ruin may be one. In 1560, the Spaniards have destroyed the Aztec and Inca civilizations. In 2500, we've destroyed our own: the cities of the Atlantic coast are underwater, the union has fallen apart, and cars, plastics, and air conditioning are relegated to history. But there are other constants too: love, ingenuity, humor, and old Dan himself, always adapting and inspiring others with dreams of a better life.

An ingenious, hilarious, and genre-bending page-turner, Mr. Eternity is multiple novels in one. Together they form an uncommon work--about our changing planet and its remarkable continuities.

Daniel Defoe, an almost 1000 years old man, who has experienced the inception and destruction of many American civilizations as well as the change in the global environment, narrates various tales through diverse timelines about five different individuals. In the 1500s in Spain, a native Pirahoa girl who after being sold to a Spanish man, starts narrating strange tales from her homeland, and once she finds the man named, Daniel de Fo, she along with Christian religion's conquerors embark upon a journey to find the homeland, El Dorado of that native girl. In the mid 1700s in a Caribbean island, a mulatto man named, John, son of a black slave and her white master, fools the sugar plantation's owner as a gentleman and along with Dr. Dan, he hatches up a plan to dupe and steal from the owner. In the year of 2016 in Kay West, two aspiring filmmakers and drop outs from their university decide to make a documentary on the ancient mariner named, Daniel of 560 years old, who later accompanies the two young men on a treasure hunt. In the 2200s in Boston, a poor young orphan boy named, Jam, deprived of any luxuries in life, is angry with the way the world has turned out to be with global warming, becomes a protege of Old Dan, who reveals and explains him about the socio economical causes of global warming. In the 2500s in St. Louis, a princess named, Jasmine, of a king brings her an ancient slave named, Daniel, who spins tales for her about the lost American civilizations from the beginning of time in the history of America. All the while this old immortal man, Daniel, is looking frantically for the love of his life, a Spanish woman, named, Anna Gloria. But did he find her?

This is a brilliant novel that raises so many modern day questions which, if put into consideration, future generation will have a sustainable life in an environment friendly society, also the past civilizations which were lost or put to an end will be honored. The book teaches the readers to respect the environment and the history and how not to waste the mother nature. Daniel, the immortal man, lives through ups and downs of the American history and environmental changes and reflects everything back whatever went wrong through the passed times and the times yet to come.

The author's writing style is excellent and flawless, although there is not much sentiments to make the readers feel, instead the book is extremely thought provoking and will make the readers ponder about both about the past and the future. The narrative is not that engaging, yet they are slightly striking and distinctive enough to let the readers see the depth beyond the multi person point-of-views. The pace is slow as the descriptions penned by the author are vivid enough to make the readers feel like they are standing right in front of the characters.

The timeline presented by the author are arresting and realistic enough to make the readers sway along with the shifting timeline from the past to the present into the future. The author's depiction about the civilizations and how both nature and superior human beings itself destroyed such inferior and ancient civilizations and did not do anything to protect such heritage is splendid enough for the readers to contemplate. The back drop did not play a huge role in the back, still, the moving time period is enough to bring that captivating feel to the story line.

The characters are well developed, although they did not feel much real enough to comprehend with their demeanor. Since this is not a character-driven tale, so the facts and the story development are the ones that will keep the readers on their edges. Not most readers will find anything appealing to this story, maybe readers who like to enjoy a slow-paced and though provocative will bound to find this book ideal for them.

In a nutshell, the story is unique, fulfilling, poignant and extremely enlightening enough to wonder about the mother nature and the causes of global warming.

Verdict: Highly intellectual and absorbing tale about the American history and environment.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Aaron Thier's publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Aaron Thier was born in Baltimore and raised in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he now lives with his wife. His writing has appeared in The Nation and The New Republic, among other places. This is his first novel.
Visit him here

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