'Here And Now And Then' Is A Perilous Mix Of Parenthood And Time Travel

In Mike Chen's debut novel, a time-traveling secret agent is stranded in the past and has to live out a normal life — including a family — that becomes a problem when he returns to his own time.

It's always interesting, as readers, to see what we remember about books years after we've read them. I recall reading by Audrey Niffenegger several years after it came out, and loving it — for the romance, yes, and its variously tragic and joyful twists and turns, but mostly because I was so impressed with the complexity of the time travel narrative, the way its pieces fit together. In other words, what's remained with me are the, is also about time travel and includes a romance or two, but these elements feel almost secondary, despite being necessary for the plot. At its core, Chen's book is really about the prides and perils of parenthood, and I'm certain that's what I'll always remember about it.

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