Thursday, March 10, 2016
And Again: A Novel by Jessica Chiarella
3.0 out of 5 stars -- What would you give -- and what would it cost -- to have a new, perfect body with all your old memories? What would being "reborn" do to your relationships, your work, your talent? Would you still be YOU?
These rhetorical questions are at the heart of AND AGAIN as 4 terminally ill strangers are given this very opportunity through an experimental program, SUBlife. Set in present day, in Chicago, these 3 women and one man find out those answers as they wake in healthy new bodies and are thrust back into their previous lives. The novel seeks to examine the concept of identity and self-concept.
The narrative is told from the point of view of each character and the reader is an observer as they struggle to come to grips with their changed reality -- the entire course and purpose of a new life. Though the premise was quite intriguing and reminded me of a movie I saw years ago about a woman who experienced a brain transplant, it really didn't engage me as thoroughly as I hoped and I was a bit disappointed in the pace and the struggles of each character's discovery process. I really didn't identify with any of them and don't think their real question was answered -- in fact, would it be better to have let nature take its course and not interfere? Frankly, if I was in any of their situations, I think I'd sign up instantly for SUBlife and never look back. After all, to be alive is to get that second chance they all seemed too hesitant to take.
I got this book from the library because I actually thought it would have more "medical" in it about the actual cloning.