Normal 0 What radical and far-reaching changes would we make in our lives if we were suddenly given a second chance; if our bodies were restored to radiant youth and health? In Chiarella's contemplative first novel, four protagonists give astonishing first-person accounts of their participation in a medical experiment called SUBlife, wherein their disease-ridden bodies have been swapped for freshly minted clones. Yet, despite their dramatic reboot to young adulthood, the foursome faces some unique and unexpected challenges. Talented painter Hannah, for instance, finds she needs to learn how to hold a brush again; Linda, survivor of eight years of physical paralysis, discovers she can barely relate to her family anymore; soap-opera star Connie develops serious misgivings about Hollywood's obsession with beauty; and right-wing politician David realizes his self-destructive patterns are still intact and decides to block SUBlife's FDA approval. While the futuristic premise may spark interest from sf readers, the target audience is mainstream literary fiction buffs, for whom Chiarella's entrancing prose and fully fleshed characters should garner widespread, enthusiastic praise. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
A sick, faded actress, a young art student with lung cancer, a mother who's been paralyzed for eight years, and an arrogant congressman with an aggressive brain tumor form an unlikely cohort whose alternating perspectives reveal what they now have in common. All newly emerged into physically healed versions of themselves following a memory "transfer," these four are prototypes of SUBlife, a cloning-based alternative to untimely death that provides new and improved substitute bodies. The problem is that no one is the same afterward, or even what other people expect them to be. Hannah's tattoos are gone, David can't stomach coffee or meat, and sensations in general are overpowering. Linda, who was paralyzed, is struggling with communication again after years of only being able to blink. "Everything feels too massive, and too terrifying," she thinks. "One for no. Two for yes. Things were so much simpler before." Unfortunately, the story never distinguishes itself from its shtick, despite Chiarella's dogged attempts to translate the ideas into a novel. The unrelenting inner monologue of each character becomes banal, and the big challenges of their new lives never feel as interesting or as true as the much smaller details. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC
"A debut novel about four previously terminally ill people who must grapple with the reality of reentering their lives after being granted genetically perfect copies of their former bodies, and the unimaginable consequences and entanglements that follow.."--Review by Publisher Summary 2
When four terminally ill patients get brand-new, genetically altered bodies that are exact copies of their former selves, giving them each a fresh start at life, they discover that their new reality is far from perfect as they must re-enter their former lives and relationships and try to regain the physical identities that had made them who they once were.Review by Publisher Summary 3
When four terminally ill patients get brand-new, genetically altered bodies that are exact copies of their former selves, giving them each a fresh start at life, they discover that their new reality is far from perfect as they must re-enter their former lives and relationships.Review by Publisher Summary 4
In the spirit of Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles, this exciting literary debut novel imagines the consequences when four ordinary individuals are granted a chance to continue their lives in genetically perfect versions of their former bodies.Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?