Hari Kunzru’s third novel, My Revolutions, opens with a man on the run. Mike Frame, a devoted husband and father living in a London suburb, is about to celebrate his 50th birthday, but he’s got a real midlife crisis on his hands: his past as an underground terrorist in the 1970s has caught up with him. When an old acquaintance threatens to reveal his true identity as radical revolutionary Chris Carver, Mike/Chris flees his comfortable life and goes in search of a former lover, a notorious female bomber who may or may not still be alive. As he runs, Mike/Chris floats in and out of his memories as a disaffected youth, war protester, social crusader, hippie drug addict, and cleaned-up suburban family man. My Revolutions blends two themes found in Kunzru’s previous novels — identity transformation (The Impressionist) and social anarchy (Transmission) — into a story that never quite takes off like it should. Structurally, the novel is superb as Kunzru moves seamlessly between the present and the past; and we travel through memory as if we’re riding a M”bius strip. But My Revolutions lacks the spark to finally lift it off the page. Though we’re told about our antihero’s emotional dilemma and his slogan-heavy past (“We thought it had been given to us to kick-start the new world”), we never quite feel it. Kunzru presents us with a man held at arm’s length and clinically examined, as if by a bomb expert carefully cutting the red wire. There is no explosion. –
About the Writer
David Abrams’ debut novel about the Iraq War, Fobbit, was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and a Best Book of 2012 by Barnes and Noble. It was also featured as part of B&N's Discover Great New Writers program. His short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Glimmer Train Stories, The Missouri Review, and many other places. He regularly blogs about the literary life at The Quivering Pen.