My Real Children

My Real Children
By Jo Walton

In My Real Children Montreal’s Jo Walton returns to the genre of alternate history with the dual biography of a woman born in 1926.

Patricia Cowan has a dual biography because, in 1949, her life splits in two when she both accepts and doesn’t accept a marriage proposal. The twentieth century also takes radically different directions from this moment on (punctuated by a series of nuclear exchanges), but Walton’s emphasis remains on the domestic front and the obscure, indirect way the personal and the political interact.

The multiverse and the butterfly effect have become familiar pop-culture tropes, but Walton is such a genial storyteller, and Patricia so decent (indeed, almost to a fault), that she charms us all the way down the road not taken – as well as the road that was.

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