BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen [in Booklist]

By 2142, “generations of interracial partnerships from the twenty-first century onward [have] rendered [names] meaningless” as markers of ethnicity. Time-traveling Agent Kin is named after quinoa; his fellow agent Markus Fernandez is a pale Brit/northern Californian. Author Mike Chen is Chinese American and channels Idris Elba for Kin, in his debut novel, narrated by African American actor Cary Hite; the audio adaptation is indeed a 22nd-century, post-racial production.

Hite is clearly attuned to the nonstop adventure here, heightening Kin’s double lives that take place over a century apart: Kin gets stuck in 1996 for almost two decades, marries, and has a daughter, before Markus yanks him back to 2142, where he’s only been gone a few weeks. Kin can’t, of course, forget his past, and is especially concerned about teenaged daughter Miranda. Protecting her might cost him his life, but fatherhood could force him to do anything to ensure her future.

While Hite’s less-than-consistent Anglo accent occasionally jars, he manages just the right blend of nervous energy and contagious excitement to take readers out of this world.

Review: “Media,” Booklist, September 1, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2019


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