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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
When Max Tivoli is born in 1871, his parents are shocked to find that his body is that of an elderly man. Such is the beginning of Max's life in reverse: As he grows older, his body grows younger. At the end of his life, he finds himself in the body of an 11-year-old boy, writing his memoirs from the safety of a playground sandbox.
Framing his second novel with this unusual device, Andrew Sean Greer has penned a love story: the story of Max's love for one woman, Alice, and the chances he has to act on that love. When they first meet, Alice is the girl next door, but 17-year-old Max is already trapped in the body of a 55-year-old man, an unacceptable suitor for a young girl. Alice ages normally while Max grows younger until a chance meeting in their mid-30s paves the way for a potentially happy future. But Max cannot halt the backward progression of his body any more than Alice can prevent the decline of her own, and Max is left heartbroken and alone. Greer's wildly inventive premise may strike readers as similar to The Time Traveler's Wife, but his artful narration, and the unsparing honesty of his uniquely resourceful and sympathetic protagonist, carry this novel beyond a simple comparison. (Winter/Spring 2004 Selection)