Q by Evan Mandery

When I first heard the premise for Q I was torn, a story about an unnamed writer who is visited by his future self and told not to marry the love of his life sounded in equal measures fascinating and worryingly corny.

Fifty pages in and my feelings were edging towards disappointment, I’d failed to connect or emphasise with Mandery’s story. The whole book seemed overly detailed and spoilt by serious bouts of procrastination from the writer. But just when I was thinking of throwing in the towel the story progressed and my interest was slowly piqued.

I began to forgive Mandery for his frequently frustrating writing and instead started to realise that this was more than just your average love story. When our hero is visited by a future self telling him not to marry Q he is off course perturbed and naturally reluctant, he loves her dearly and can’t imagine being with anyone else. But then this future self knows him better that anyone, surely his advice trumps anything else?

And so he acts upon these instructions, only to be visited soon after by another version of himself who tells him he should marry another woman. But then a few months later he his visited by yet another future self who tells him he should not now marry this women. And so the story progresses in this vain.

Off course he is exasperated, he has faithfully followed the advice of his older self, only to receive contradictory instructions further down the line.

I’m sure every reader would interpret this book differently, but to me Mandery seemed to be exploring the rather poignant idea that we cannot, despite our very best efforts, control our lives completely. Nor can we guarantee our happiness. Our hero seems to be so determined to have a happy and succesful life that he follows any of the steps he is told to take. It doesn’t matter that the path he really wanted to take may well of made him sad but also happy in equal measures, he seems to be chasing ultimate happiness.

I loved the idea of the book and the message I took from it. There have being many crossroads in my life where I’ve tried to take the path in life that we will make completely happy, the path that will give me perfection. But after reading Q, a message has remained in my mind. Maybe it is greedy and foolish to try to find ultimate happiness? maybe there is no such thing?

Although this is very much the message that I took from Q, I am aware that this is one of those wonderfully rare stories that really encourages a wide spectrum of interpretations from its readers. I’d therefore love to hear from anyone else who has read this book and find out your interpretation of the story? Did you like the book? What was your interpretation of it?

Reviews that I’ve read of this book promise a heartbreaking ending. This wasn’t quite my experience, I’ve read other love stories that have moved me to tears. Q just wasn’t on that level. But it did leave me with a strong message that still sticks in my mind. A good read for anyone seeking something a little different that will really make you think.

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One thought on “Q by Evan Mandery

  1. I know what you mean about the slow start, but this one grew on me too. A lovely mix of the emotional and intellectual. My interpretion was a little simpler than yours: trust your instincts and don’t look back!

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