Man in the Empty Suit
By Sean Ferrell
It’s easy to get frustrated by the chronological dead-ends and philosophical paradoxes thrown up by time travel stories, but if you enjoy such puzzles then you’ll find Man in the Empty Suit a special treat. In this very odd novel the hero is a time traveller who goes to a hotel in New York City on April 1, 2071 every year (that is, every year of his life) for a birthday convention, where he meets different versions of himself at all different ages. On his thirty-ninth birthday, however, one of him is murdered, leaving the narrator to find out who, or more precisely which version of himself, did it.
Out of this intriguing premise Sean Ferrell proceeds to spin a dark hybrid of Paul Auster and the film Memento, complete with a mysterious love interest who, like the narrator, lives and dies in various realities. Best of all, however, is the evocation of mid-twenty-first century New York as a melancholy, dilapidated place high in entropy, cluttered with ruined buildings, and weirdly infested with parrots.