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Every Anxious Wave

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Good guy Karl Bender is a thirty-something bar owner whose life lacks love and meaning. When he stumbles upon a time-travelling worm hole in his closet, Karl and his best friend Wayne develop a side business selling access to people who want to travel back in time to listen to their favorite bands. It's a pretty ingenious plan, until Karl, intending to send Wayne to 1980, transports him back to 980 instead. Though Wayne sends texts extolling the quality of life in tenth century "Mannahatta," Karl is distraught that he can't bring his friend back.

Enter brilliant, prickly, overweight astrophysicist, Lena Geduldig. Karl and Lena's connection is immediate. While they work on getting Wayne back, Karl and Lena fall in love -- with time travel, and each other. Unable to resist meddling with the past, Karl and Lena bounce around time. When Lena ultimately prevents her own long-ago rape, she alters the course of her life and threatens her future with Karl.

A high-spirited and engaging novel, Mo Daviau's EVERY ANXIOUS WAVE plays ball with the big questions of where we would go and who we would become if we could rewrite our pasts, as well as how to hold on to love across time.

276 pages, Hardcover

First published February 9, 2016

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Mo Daviau

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 486 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
September 1, 2018
this is a book with an irresistible hook: High Fidelity with time travel.

that is the perfect opportunity for a joyful, if flimsy, romp full of pop culture references and fanboy/girl gushing and a little romance slapped on top because a book's gotta have one of those.*

and it started out that way.

it's got that same kind of bittersweet nostalgia as High Fidelity:

Wayne and I shared that common affliction plaguing single men with limited prospects and self-destructive tendencies: we regarded our pasts with such love and loss that every day forward was a butter knife to the gut. Our twenties had been full of rock music and courage. The future made us older, but our wisdom was dubious. Wayne and I avoided the pain of tomorrow with alcohol and old rock bands. Pavement on the jukebox, the heavenly reddish glow of neon signs, and sentences that started with "Remember when…"

heavy on the get-off-my-lawn old(er)-man bitter:

A pack of talentless teenagers who played covers of Liz Phair songs like they meant nothing …

and then lo! on PAGE TWO karl discovers that there is a time-traveling wormhole in the floor of his bedroom that permits passage back in time. and he rents it out to others for $$, with very specific rules: the wormhole can only be used to visit concerts from the past, no souvenirs, no photos or audio recordings, no interactions of any kind, no leaving the venue, and no staying longer than the duration of the concert.

and despite all the "jeeez, mom" rules, this concept is fun, fun stuff - this is like first date icebreaking conversation starters - what concert would you go to if you could?

even though there's only one answer: oingo boingo farewell tour halloween 1995

and now we are on a date.

and of course - time travel is complicated and mistakes are made, and karl's data entry typo sends his best only friend wayne back to 980 manhattan, where the lack of technology problematizes wayne's return journey and requires the recruitment of an astrophysicist who is coincidentally also a passionate music-lover and also karl's type. apparently.

all of these things - the farfetched premise, the reliance on coincidences, the fast pace at the expense of explanation - all of these set up an expectation for the kind of book this should have been: frothy, escapist, nothing you have to think or feel too hard about, a bit of rock and roll fun with silly pretty meaningless lines like:

Lena moved her foot over to mine, to hold it. We were holding feet like cautious lovers in a storybook about secrets.

and it is indeed popcorn-lit for a while, but then it goes a bit dark; darker than the premise would suggest, but not dark in a way that i found enjoyable. the writing wasn't strong enough to support the tonal switch - you need to earn your darkness, or it can be alienating to the reader who has become caught up in this light fantasy until now. the characters aren't developed enough to pull off a story with any depth - they still think they are back in that rock and roll time travel book they auditioned for.

on the subject of characters - i found both karl and lena to be profoundly unlikeable and they seemed so ill-suited to one another, i never understood if i was meant to be rooting for them to get together or for them to realize they had no chemistry. i never understood their insistence on being together - she's mercurial, he's gormless, there's no sparks flying anywhere. he's like a burr that's attached to her just cuz she walked by and she's always trying to shake him off. the synopsis sez this book will address "how to hold on to love across time," but these two can't even hold on to love across a chapter. also, his only consistent criterion for romantic attraction seems to be "damage" which is usually a sinister quality in a man.

this book glosses too much. which is fine in the kind of book i thought it was at the start. a "we're just having fun here!" book can get away with a freewheeling nose-thumb at details like

how does time travel work??

"it just does, wheeeeee!!"

why are they in a relationship with each other?

"they just are, wheeeeee!!!"

but once you start introducing things like rape, body image, infant mortality, etc - you're not a wheeeeee!! book anymore and serious books require a little more effort. don't get me wrong - i am absolutely fine with there being no explanation for time travel. if time travel existed and you tried to explain the "how" to me, i guarantee i would not understand it. but i would kinda like to know what these characters see in each other. to be fair, this same question is addressed in the book, but it's waaaayyy at the end, which is too little too late for a book positioning itself as a music geeky romance and you have to just roll with it for a long time before the question is even asked. and never, i would venture, satisfactorily answered.

i'm grateful to have won this through firstreads, and for a debut it's got a lot going for it, but there's some shaky first-timer bits that'll probably all be tidied away by book #2. it's a medium-three.

*i mean, inasmuch as High Fidelity is a "joyful romp," focusing as it does on a bitter and sad man who uses music as an insulating barrier between himself and the world and can't maintain relationships but probably gets the girl in the end anyway. (i only saw the movie and i don't remember the ending, but i'm guessing that's what happens because who would turn down john cusack, right?)

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Charlie Anders.
Author 151 books3,724 followers
May 3, 2019
This is a brilliantly different look at time travel, with a goofy, irreverent voice and a lot of silly ideas. When a bartender and former indie rock star finds a wormhole in his closet, he decides it should only be used to allow people to attend rock concerts in the past. You can see Jimi and the Beatles and Janis Joplin perform live! But then his friend decides to go back to 1980 to save John Lennon -- and winds up in 980 instead due to an error. It's as ridiculous and fun as it sounds, although there are times when it doesn't entirely make sense (even more than most time travel stories tend not to make sense after a while.)
Profile Image for Tom Mathews.
661 reviews
December 29, 2015
4.5 stars
Have you ever noticed that mixing romance and time travel often ends badly? And yet authors still toy with the idea. Fortunately one of them is first-time novelist Mo Daviau. She has written a quirky story that combines a whole litany of elements that practically guarantee a messy ending; love, time travel, over-the-hill rock stars, damaged hearts and even a cataclysmic asteroid event. What could possibly go wrong?

And yet, somehow she pulls it off. Granted, the initial hook, time-traveler gets stuck in Pre-Columbian Manhattan with no way to get home, turns out to be less compelling than it originally sounds but the resulting relationship that evolves when ex-rocker-turned-bar-owner Karl hires emotionally-crippled astrophysics doctoral candidate and college DJ Lena to work on the wormhole in Karl’s apartment closet is absolutely delightful. Both characters are very easy to relate to which makes all of their trials and tribulations all the more engaging.

What I found most intriguing though is how the novel addresses a question that we all have asked ourselves at one time or another; namely what would happen if we went back and changed one or more of the negative aspects of our lives. I, for one, would love to be able to go back and put my dad’s second marriage on ice, or even my own first marriage for that matter. But if I did, what good things would also never happen? Ay, there's the rub, as Hamlet would say.

If you are one of those who takes time-travel novels seriously and will reject a book on the grounds that it is farfetched, this may not be the book for you. But if you are like most people who enjoys what Dr. Who refers to as that wibbley-wobbly, timey-whimey stuff because of the paradoxical situations that their protagonists face, then you may well enjoy Every Anxious Wave. It addresses very real subjects such as aging, death, rape and the emotional trauma it causes. It also has a lot to say about rock music and its history.

Bottom line: I highly recommend Mo’s debut effort. If I could, I’d go back in time and read it again.

*Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review book was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review.
FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
*4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.
*3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered great or memorable.
*2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending.
*1 Star - The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.
Profile Image for Razvan.
25 reviews9 followers
February 22, 2016
First reaction upon finishing this shorter than it feels book:

" I wish I could go back in time and convince myself not to read this book"


"oh for fuck's sake!!"

You know what it's about: a guy discovers a wormhole in his apartment and being a has-been rock star and good guy and dreaming of the better times in the past and ETC he uses this to go to the epic rock concerts of the past. Sometimes he sells tickets to rock concerts of the past. When his friend Wayne is stranded by mistake in 980 [ where, coincidentally, no rock concerts are taking place ] he needs to retrieve him with the help of a astrophysicist he finds online : Lena Gedulding.

Obv, he falls in love with Lena and bla bla bla, they start using the wormhole to change her shitty life and in the process changing her to a new - better - person...but you know, in the essence, she's still the one he falls in love with no matter what timeline.

So, what's wrong with this book? sounds interesting, right?

Yeah, first of all: the science is wack. Ok, we don't hav etime travel wormholes so we don't really know what can be possible but the fact that we could time travel with the power of love is ridiculous to 980 and back!

Another science fact: one of the invention that better Lena comes with is some sort of time dilatation phone: you can call/text peopl ein the past. I kid you not, that's actually used as a bonding device between our hero and his future step-daughter...to basically no consequnce of instantly changing the future by meddling in the past.

Another oddity is how he talks about having a wormhole like it's no big deal. Whoa, dude! That's not really all that common and really, how can one believe that sharing with so many people via the concert business wouldn't lead to the government taking over your wormhole and maybe even putting you in a cage somewhere?

Look, I can suspend my disbelief but even suspended it scoffs at the whole stupidity.

There is also a huge part about his former band, Axis, and it's feminist pro-curvy girls songs that saved big girls, one of whom is Lena and a great big deal about someone being a PIN and someone being a CUSHION! basically meaning that, you know, soulmates and such and big girls deserve love too! I don't know what to make of all this, it seems to have almost no impact on the whole story but also is treated as the most important shit ever. Ok. I found it annoying and repetitive.

And of course, one can accuse me that I don't get music, I don't understand having a passion and deep regret to never seeing Queen live or some other sacred monster of rock'n'roll in their prime and being there is like an epiphany and whoa! How can you expect to get this book when you are so [tone]deaf?! Well, fair point. Also: fuck that, a good book should make me feel it. I didn't.

As for the characters: Lena is annoying in all the timelines, except for the best timeline in which she is smart, successful, amazing and still in love with this guy of course.

The shining star is Wayne, who even from 1000 years in the past still sends deep meaningful funny texts to our hero [ yeah, the science lives on ].

So, it should have a been a wacky cool love story, but it's just a mangled mess that I am happy to leave behind and never return to it ever. I urge you to do the same.

Profile Image for Jenni.
261 reviews225 followers
January 19, 2016
It book really surprised me. I thought it was going to be really funny and ridiculous. I mean the premise sounds a guy finding a wormhole in his closet and using it to go see his favorite bands in the past. But it was actually a pretty heartfelt story. I moved quickly and a few times I got a bit muddled with all the time jumping, but I thought that it added an interesting dynamic to the story telling.

It will definitely make you think about the things that happen in a person's like that makes them who they are. And what if anything we might change in our own lives given the chance, even if it meant losing something we have to an unknown.
Profile Image for Jessica J..
1,019 reviews1,958 followers
April 19, 2016
3.5 stars.

So this is the kind of person I am.

On my way home from working a conference in Woodley Park, I got off the Red Line at Dupont Circle to get some empanadas. Left unchecked in Dupont Circle, I am going to wander into Kramerbooks because, well, hi. (I feel like Politics & Prose is considered the more acceptable answer to the question of favorite DC bookstore, but I gotta be honest – I lean a little more towards Kramer because I love their layout and their brunch is delicious-if-pricey and I sort of hung out with Elena Kagan there once. If you stretch the definition of “hung out” to include “watched her browse the fiction section from the sidewalk while waiting for my sister-in-law.”)


I went there after my conference and promptly gathered up about six books that are on my to-read lists but not available from my library system. I read the first paragraph of each of them and after much hemming and hawing, I walked out of the store with this one. Which I’d kinda forgotten that I'd saved here on Goodreads. I have no idea where I heard about this but I saw it on the shelf at Kramer and was like, “Oh yeah. This is like fifth-tier, maybe-I’ll-think-about-reading-it list stuff.”

Then I read the first paragraph, and it was a dollar or two cheaper than the others so I went with it.

I’ve seen this described as High Fidelity with time travel, and no more perfect summary can there be.

This book kind of plunks you down in media res, with everything sort of already happening: our narrator, Karl, is a bartender in Chicago who’s discovered a time travel portal in his closet. Formerly the guitarist of a cult-followed 90s alternative band, music is the primary tool that Karl uses to relate to the world and to organize the people in it. So he sets up a business with his wormhole, in which he sends people back in time to see concerts they might’ve missed the first time around or whose emotional highs they just wanna relive.

Which raises the question – what concert would you go to? Maybe I’ve spent too much time with people who talk and think about 90s indie rock so much or maybe I’m not cool enough for this question, but the first thing I thought of was Jeff Buckley. Grace is easily my favorite album I’ve ever discovered post-artist death.


Karl��s got some rules for his time travel venture: go back for the length of the show and immediately come home, so souvenirs, no photos, no interacting with the past. Easy enough, right? Ha.

Karl runs this business with his computer nerd friend Wayne and things are all good until Wayne gets it in his head that he wants to go back to December 1980 and stop Chapman from murdering Lennon. But – oops – Karl makes a typo and sends Wayne back to the year 980 instead. So Karl goes in search of a physicist who might be able to help him bring Wayne home and that brings him together with Lena, an overweight, tattooed former Riot Grrrl with her fair share of emotional baggage. While working to rescue Wayne, Karl and Lena embark on something that kind of looks like a relationship and ultimately leads Karl towards more time-travelly hi-jinks.

And, I mean, what can go wrong with time-travelly hi-jinks, right?

So here’s my complaint. We don’t get to know the characters before they’re responding to this one particular situation and so they didn’t really take shape as fully developed people. I didn’t really see why Lena and Karl became a Thing. I feel like Daviau based these characters on the kind of people she’s got floating around in her own life (or perhaps herself!) and so they looked like fully formed characters to her while she was writing, but she never took the time to develop them for the reader’s benefit. At least until we hit maybe the 67% mark, by which point it was a little too late.

But I actually liked this book! Enough to round three-and-a-half stars up to four. Which doesn’t sound like glowing praise, but actually is something. The time travel stuff is handled fairly well for someone who doesn’t really like reading intensely sci-fi time travel where there’s a lot of focus on world-building and how the physics works. It works because she says it does and I was okay with that. She manages to sprinkle in some nice use of foreshadowing and by the time she brings everything full circle, she’d done so with some level of heartwarminess. I had some emotional reactions by the end, at which point I was drawing mental comparisons to George Bailey and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But the road to get there was a little too choppy. Daviau introduces some darker, heavier elements that didn’t reeeaaally work for me, mostly because the characters weren’t developed enough before things got dark. If she had taken the time to write a more solid introduction to Karl and to Lena, to give some more weight to the decisions they make early on, I think this book maybe could’ve packed a more considerable emotional wallop. But because she dropped us in on what could or should have maybe been the second or third chapter of the book, the book stays somewhere just above average for me. I think a lot of people might have fun with it if they don’t mind the lack of character depth or aren’t sticklers for time travelling explanations, but for me this book is solid B- territory.

Profile Image for Mangrii.
866 reviews243 followers
October 14, 2019
Viajes en el tiempo, amores destinados, rockeros en malos momentos y corazones dañados. Además de visitar la prehistoria o un futuro cataclismo planetario. Todo eso ofrece Lena y Karl, una lectura entretenida, aunque endeble, rebosante de referencias y premisas alocadas, repleta de coincidencias sin sentido y un ritmo imparable. Un blockbuster veraniego agradable, con ciertos momentos oscuros, pero que desprende cierto aire encantador que impide soltar el libro hasta terminar.

Mo Daviau escribe con ritmo y aire escapista, sin grandes explicaciones ni tremendas paradojas científicas. Lena y Karl se sostiene si no nos planteamos su ciencia en modo estricto. Es una mera herramienta. Es una lección musical indie acompañada de un romance que se busca a lo largo del tiempo. Es una reflexión sobre la propia vida y las consecuencias de nuestras propias decisiones, a la que le falta peso debido a la falta de profundidad y poca química de nuestros protagonistas.

La historia presenta elementos oscuros y dramáticos en momentos que los personajes no se sienten nada sólidos, por lo que el impacto emocional no es tan considerable. Sigue siendo una lectura entretenida, pero cuyo poso sentimental se siente menor al terminar el libro. Lena y Karl se vuelve más una forma de volver a visitar el doloroso pasado de nuestros protagonistas que una divertida y alocada historia de viajes y rescates en el tiempo como parecía al principio. Ambos personajes tienen pasados y corazones dañados que tratan de arreglar y combatir en su día a día. Relaciones idealizadas, muertes, envejecimientos, violaciones o los problemas laborales a los que se enfrenta una científica en su trabajo son algunos de estos hechos que necesitan puntos de sutura.

Reseña en el blog: https://boywithletters.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for Tim Hicks.
1,493 reviews116 followers
May 9, 2016
Feh. Didn't work for me.

I hate music-geek stories, to begin with. At least this one lacked the orgasmic descriptions of what it's like to play in a band and how The Outsiders Will Never Understand.

I hate time-travel stories that just casually handwave the technology, and use it carelessly. Yeah, sure, if you could travel in time, wouldn't you go to a 1990 concert by the Pustulent Zits? Not, say, the Crucifixion, or ancient Babylon, or to see Shakespeare? And a guy is in 980 AD but can still text because, like, the satellites are still up, and a month later his phone still has a charge. Pfui.

The characters are dull as dishwater, and I didn't care what happened to them. SO much so that I couldn't finish the book.

There may be a good story here, but this book is a fraud as science fiction.
Profile Image for kelly.
248 reviews44 followers
March 18, 2016
though this book was by no means perfect, I really really enjoyed it. of COURSE you have to suspend your disbelief a bit where time travel is concerned - and that's really not a problem for me. To me this had the perfect blend of fun plot, good character development, and EMO NOSTALGIC YEARNINGS (MY FAVE). It kind of reminded me of ready player one in how readable & fun it was, w/ some high fidelity and back to the future mixed in.
Profile Image for Lucy.
241 reviews149 followers
June 21, 2016
This relentlessly creative and fast-moving novel opens like a late-night rock-and-roll question: “If you could time-travel to any concert in history, which one would you go to?” In Every Anxious Wave, washed-up indie rocker Karl Bender discovers that his closet is the portal to a time-travel wormhole; with a simple laptop program he and his friend Wayne can transport travelers to any place and time they choose. The two guys start a booming business sending eager rock fans back to see their favorite gigs, albeit with one rule: don’t change anything, and come home right afterwards. But rules are made to be broken…

Read the rest of Andrew's review and see the author's book playlist here.
Profile Image for Jessica.
14 reviews1 follower
March 20, 2016
Started off fun and exciting but slowly turned into a bit of a soap opera. Didn't love the characters all that much. Had some great pop culture and music references that I really liked.
Profile Image for Eli.
40 reviews37 followers
August 4, 2019
Lo único que tenia que hacer era preguntar: Si pudieras viajar al pasado y ver a un grupo en directo ¿cuál escogerías?. Es una forma fantástica de empezar una conversación , un tema de bar bastante decente...

Karl descubre un agujero de gusano en el armario de su habitación que le permite viajar en el tiempo, de repente ni la edad ni el tiempo importan. Decide, con un amigo, montar el negocio definitivo: los clientes podrán viajar al pasado para ver su concierto favorito.
Hasta que un día, Karl envía por error a su amigo al año 980 en lugar de a 1980… y no puede traerlo de vuelta. Para rescatarlo, Karl contacta con Lena, una astrofísica que siempre viste camisetas de grupos.

Un historia sencilla, una comedia perfecta para leer en verano con unos personajes a los que les coges cariño porque te ves reflejado en ellos de alguna manera, y con una banda sonora increíble para acompañarlo. Esto era lo que yo me esperaba después de leer la sinopsis de este libro, el tema de los viajes en el tiempo quizás no iba a estar desarrollado de una manera perfecta (porque es lo que suele pasar en la mayoría de los libros donde hay viajes en el tiempo) pero tampoco me importaba demasiado. Lo cierto es que no esperaba demasiado y aun así me ha decepcionado ligeramente.
La primera mitad del libro si era lo que me esperaba, tal y como lo he descrito anteriormente, pero en la segunda mitad la autora intenta incorporar temas mas serios , y estos no pegan con el "tono" de la historia, y los personajes tampoco ayudan porque no creo que tengan la profundidad suficiente como para que te ayuden a creerte esa parte mas seria.

De todas maneras no creo que sea un mal debut el de Mo Daviau, para mi hubiese estado mejor si siguiese toda la novela en la misma linea que la primera mitad.
Me encantan las novelas con banda sonora.

Tenemos que renunciar a una parte de nuestro yo verdadero para poder sobrevivir al día a día. Pero así es, dependemos de los demás para ser felices, y la peña de 2010 tenéis que dejar de fingir que no os importa estar solos y comer ensalada directamente de la bolsa, delante del ordenador, cuando lo que queréis en realidad es una familia, amantes y personas capaces de ver lo que lleváis en el corazón.
Profile Image for Joan Concilio.
160 reviews13 followers
August 15, 2016
This is my one must-read recommendation for 2016. Especially, but not only, if you love music and humans and science and hope.
Profile Image for Marta Lo.
250 reviews36 followers
July 16, 2019
Los libros de ciencia ficción nunca me han atra��do para ser sincera, así que comencé este bajo muchos prejuicios. Me alegro de haberlo comenzado, porque lo he terminado disfrutando muchísimo. Esta novela no solo habla de viajes en el tiempo, sino realmente del ser humano y de su afán por tener una vida mejor. ¿Realmente sería bueno poder viajar al pasado para cambiarlo? ¿Y al futuro para tranquilizarse y ver que todo va a ir bien? Mo Daviau nos propone estos interrogantes, y sus personajes nos los resuelven de una manera fantástica, que obviamente no voy a desvelar para no hacer spoilers.

Otro punto a favor del libro es su humor. En un principio hablaba de grupos estadounidenses de los que no conocía la gran mayoría, y no pillaba sus chistes y gracias con ellos. Pero eso solo es en las primeras páginas, luego no es tan denso en detalles de grupos musicales y todo va sobre ruedas. De hecho, el libro parece leerse solo tras los primeros capítulos. Te ríes con algunas partes, pero también te llegan al corazón ciertas frases. La forma de escribir de la autora es muy cercana e informal, y eso le hace un grato favor a la lectura del mismo, haciéndola fresca y divertida, además de acelerarla.

Al final se aprende mucho sobre las teorías sobre los viajes en el tiempo, aunque hoy en día siguen siendo solo eso, teorías. Pero pensándolo bien, las novelas de Julio Verne tenían su parte didáctica y su parte teórica también, ¿no? Quizá en un futuro ésta se vea tan obsoleta como "Viaje a la Luna", pero mientras entretiene y enseña a la vez.

Por todo esto, recomiendo su lectura, para cualquier momento en el que no se quiera leer nada demasiado profundo, y se quiera disfrutar de una lectura entretenida y amena.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
2,018 reviews52 followers
March 25, 2016
I listened to this book. I was really into the first part of the book because it was set in Chicago and I could picture the neighborhood described. I was interested in the time travel notion of going back in time to go to concerts of bands that you have always wanted to see (at venues you always wanted to see them at!) . Someone please take me back in time to see U2 at Red Rocks (my personal fantasy). So the book was humming along and the protagonist Karl was likeable. He designates smart rules for use of the wormhole so that nothing will be altered in the future. He is not so careful on inputting a date, however, and accidentally sends a friend to prehistoric times. He wants to fix this so he enlists help from a physicist (Lena) who he falls in love with. This is when the book turns into a love story. And that is fine. What threw me was when the wormhole started to be used to go forward, into the future. And the book turned dystopic. I was bummed with this turn of events because once altering of time began (this is how Lena used time travel) why weren't they smart enough to alter the future? And why didn't they alter the future for their friend whose child was ill? Most likely, I was starting to run a whole different story in my head. That happens sometimes when listening. Anyway, I was totally digging the subplot of the landlord who went back in time and fell in love with Freddie Mercury! And admittedly, the ending was beautiful and showed that despite wherever you are on the time continuum (!), being blessed enough to be in love and be with that person is the best possible circumstance/outcome.
Profile Image for Myriam.
13 reviews3 followers
April 10, 2016
This book has just been published and it feels outdated. Old. It tries too hard to be funny and it just isn't. The characters have no personality and, most of all, they're not believable.
What attracted me to the book was 1. It sounded like something I wouldn't necessarily want to read, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and 2. The female lead is an obese woman, with whom the MC falls in love. You don't see that everyday. Alas, she is the character I found most absurd. She's a PhD in Astrophysics, so I would imagine her to be very smart and profoundly knowledgeable on the topic. Well, she blurts out idiotic things! Like "there were two moons in 980". WHAT?! Author, who told you this?! Because they lied to you!
I can't believe I actually read that line. Amongst other things.
Also, what should move the action and motivate the characters should be that the MC's best friend is stuck in the past and can't come back to the present. The MC and his girlfriend talk about that a lot but they don't do anything about it whatsoever! They prefer to sunbathe on the attic and listen to old music. Okay. Even when he goes to the future and could discover from people who have mastered time-travel how to bring back someone who had been lost in the time space continuum, he just... doesn't. WTF?!
I'm so mad. I don't understand HOW this could have been published.
I tried to suspend my disbelief as long as possible but midway through the book I realized it wasn't just bizarre and nonsensical. It was just bad.
Profile Image for Jeff Raymond.
3,092 reviews180 followers
August 2, 2016
This book is often described as High Fidelity with time travel. This is an accurate description in so, so many ways, and a book that I fell in love with within the first twenty or so pages and just blew through until the end.

Effectively, a guy finds a wormhole in the closet of his apartment. A former guitarist for a well-regarded and now-defunct indie rock band, he does what any music lover does and uses it to see old concerts. He quickly monetizes the wormhole, gets caught up in an issue with his landlord, meets up with a theoretical physicist to try and figure out what's going on, and really messes with the timeline in the process.

If there are two things I love in life, it's time travel books and indie rock. A combination of the two was going to be a winner for me regardless, but this works in part because it doesn't take itself too seriously while still doing a good job (at least on a basic level) of making the time travel work. There are tons of indie rock references throughout, and much of the history behind the plot takes place in the Boston area at one of my favorite now-defunct rock clubs, and it's just a solid read. Not perfect by any stretch, and things kind of get weird in the end, but it's not a big enough deal for me to get hopped up over. This was probably one of my favorite things I've read this year, and is just an enjoyable ride throughout.

A must for time travel aficionados, a must for those who love the indie rock of two decades ago, and a pleasant light read from start to finish. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Diana.
434 reviews21 followers
July 31, 2017
I've wanted to read this book for a while, and bless bookoutlet because I got my hands on a signed copy for something like $6. After a long, dry reading spell, I finally began again a month ago as though I've been starved for literature (which I have.) Hence the urban fantasy binge because dear sweet baby jesus, it's my favorite thing on this planet in terms of reading material. SUPER glad I finally got to this.

So, if Ready Player One was a love letter to the 80s, Every Anxious Wave is a love letter to the tubby 90's indie grunge rock nerd. I laughed, I overidentified, I fucking loved the utter batshittery of a spontaneous closet wormhole, used only to go see concerts of the past (shit yeah, dude; I would never have left that closet). There's this huge thread of fat acceptance politics and mental illness, and the fucked up things we do (and that are done to us) that lead to who we are (and that managed to dovetail creepily into some discussions we've been having in my house lately about the honesty of saying you'd never change a thing). Everything that matters to me is touched here: music, parenting, fat girl life, science, academia, self-doubt, time travel, asshole landlords. there is literally nothing here that I didn't want to read about. I more than once texted snippets to people I thought would find them amazing little bits of quote.

Bottom line, it's a tall tale, so don't hope to reconcile any actual science here; go with the crazy and let it tell you the story. So good.
Profile Image for Paxton Cockrell.
40 reviews
January 20, 2016
This was an interesting one. It's left me not sure of my feeling after it was done. Also, I'm not a huge music guy, so I'd only heard of about fifty percent of the bands mentioned in the book, at most. The book did a great job of portraying the settings and the characters. I had fairly strong feelings for them, even if those feelings weren't necessarily positive.

It follows the somewhat whiny, 40 year old, ex-rocker Karl Bender as he discovers a wormhole in his closet that allows him to time travel. His computer-whiz friend, Wayne, somehow figures out how to control where in time they go. So they turn it into a business selling trips to see concerts in the past. They then get more ambitious and decide to try and alter past events which leads to all sorts of problems as they affect their own lives and those of the people around them. It's basically how most average people would use time travel.

The ending scene is one of the parts of the book that left me unsure of my feelings, because while on one hand it did feel kind of happy, the setting was such a dark kind of situation, it left me with a vague feeling of melancholy.
Profile Image for Alicia.
3,146 reviews35 followers
April 1, 2016

Daviau's debut novel may have been written JUST FOR ME--it centers on TIME TRAVEL and INDIE ROCK! Cat's Cradle even gets a shoutout! Anyway, it's the story of a guy, an aging indie rocker, who owns a bar and discovers a time travel portal thing in his closet (don't question it) and he and his buddy set up a business sending people back in time to awesome rock shows. I mean, that is genius. But then things go awry, and his friend ends up trapped in Manhattan in the year 980. And the bartender has to call in a cool young astrophysicist (a lady!) to save the day. I didn't find their inevitable romance entirely compelling--I wished she had been slightly better developed, or at least not seen only through his eyes, and I could have done w/o mentions of rape--but really enjoyed all the time travel shenanigans. This book was super fun. B+.
Profile Image for Laura.
175 reviews
January 11, 2021
This book was really fun to read because of how ridiculous the time traveling became over time. There were a few cringe worthy sentences by the sometimes pretentious narrator, but it worked well with his character’s past.

I was in a reading slump and this book definitely gave me my momentum back!
Profile Image for Javier Pavía.
Author 9 books34 followers
September 19, 2019
Compré este libro por la sinopsis. Sonaba rematadamente bien, una locura: Un rockero venido a menos encuentra un agujero de gusano y pone un negocio para enviar a la gente al concierto que siempre quisieron ver. Pero, por error, nuestro héroe envía a su colega Wayne al año 980 y ahora tiene que rescatarlo. Parecía que tenía todos los ingredientes para gustarme: música, humor idiota y un estilo desenfadado. Investigación paranormal con viajes en el tiempo y buena banda sonora. Además, pues había una historia de amor, que ni suma ni resta puntos.

La realidad ha sido muy diferente. Durante las primeras 80 páginas da lo que promete, es cierto, y habría sido una magnífica novela corta. Pero se enreda.

Para empezar, la trama "romántica" devora el 75% del libro. No es malo de por sí, pero es que no hay ninguna química entre los personajes. Se llevan mal. Se hacen daño. No se quieren. Se manipulan. Su primera cita es tan desastrosa que jamás debió haber una segunda. No están hechos una para el otro por mucho que la autora diga que sí, y me temo que no es porque se trate de una deconstrucción del género romántico ni de un narrador poco fiable, sino que a Daviau esto le parece realmente una historia de amor verdadero. Las vueltas y revueltas que da Karl en busca de Lena huelen a manipulación. No le gusta ella, sino su imagen de ella. La novela funcionaba más o menos bien hasta que se besaron. Porque creo que se besaron, la autora tan pronto hace que sean amigos como pareja y ahora mismo ni siquiera sé si llegaron a acostarse, la verdad.

Por otra parte, estos viajes temporales no tienen reglas. Todo vale. Eso está bien si es una novela cafre de cachondeo, como parecía por la sinopsis, pero no lo es. Los personajes envían mensajes al pasado y al futuro sin explicación, los móviles no se quedan sin batería, hay satélites artificiales en el año 980 y además, por algún motivo, hay un asteroide que se acerca a la tierra. Los personajes olvidan que Wayne está atrapado en 980 con una facilidad pasmosa y se van a conciertos que ya han visto para poder llorar. Pues muy bien. No hay complicación que no se pueda solucionar con viajes en el tiempo, por lo que, en realidad, no hay trama, solo páginas y más páginas. El poco conflicto que hay no es tal: Wayne es más feliz en 980 y solo nos queda ver si al final se casan. Porque al final se trata de una comedia romántica de toda la vida teñida con un puntito moderno. Comedia que solo hace reír durante los primeros compases y romanticismo muy mal entendido.

Tiene buenos momentos, especialmente cuando la novela no se toma en serio a sí misma, pero casi todo lo bueno está al principio y, al llegar a la página 200, solo quieres que termine de una vez.

Hay otros detalles que restan puntos pero a lo mejor no habrían sido importantes en una historia bien construida. Por ejemplo, los protagonistas han vivido los 90 pero solo les gustan grupos de los 80. Eso es raro. Más raro aún: nos quieren vender a Karl como un rockero pero solo le gustan grupos de pop. Que está bien, no es que no molen, pero lo más contundente que aparece en este libro es una mención de pasada a Eddie Vedder, que no es que sea el colmo del heavy pero si tenías 14 años en 1993, seguro que te gustaba. Por otra parte, la fama de The Axis, el grupo ficticio, cambia según le conviene a la autora. Su gira es un éxito, pero solo venden 30 entradas (¿cómo?). Y da demasiadas vueltas sobre su estatus, su música, su estilo... cuando lo que hacía atractivo a este libro era que íbamos a ver conciertos de bandas legendarias. Sí, se menciona a Queen, y a Nirvana en la penúltima página, pero como secundarios frente a un one hit wonder inexistente.

En resumen, un patinazo. Ojalá lo hubiera cogido en la biblioteca en vez de comprarlo. Al menos la edición es buena y luce bien en la estantería xD
Profile Image for Mirentxu.
29 reviews13 followers
April 25, 2020
Una novela a través del tiempo, el espacio y la música. Fresca, aunque a veces algo angustiante debido a la personalidad del protagonista, que perfectamente podría haber salido de una canción de The Smiths. Tiene momentos de tensión y unos diálogos, en ocasiones, bastante mordaces, lo que la hace divertida y fácil de leer.
Profile Image for María P..
159 reviews82 followers
July 5, 2019
Lena y Karl es la primera novela de la californiana Mo Daviau, y también la novedad escogida por Bookish para formar parte de su caja de junio. En mi caso, siempre estoy buscando series, libros o películas que traten el tema de los viajes en el tiempo porque es una cuestión que me gusta mucho y que me resulta todo un reto, así que cuando abrí la Bookish de este mes y encontré este libro, me llevé una grata sorpresa. Sin embargo, tengo que reconocer que, aunque me ha entretenido, no ha llegado a convencerme del todo, y tampoco me ha parecido tan divertido.

Sí que me ha gustado mucho todo el concepto y el juego que se le da al tema de los viajes en el tiempo, y en general, el desarrollo de la trama me ha parecido muy bueno, pero para ser un libro destinado a un público juvenil-adulto creo que no se explica con suficiente claridad ciertas cuestiones. Hay muchas cosas que no me han terminado de encajar, y que me han parecido surrealistas. Entiendo que hablamos de viajes en el tiempo, que ya de por sí es un tema surrealista, pero me refiero a otros aspectos, como la relación entre los protagonistas, que creo que se podría haber enfocado de una manera más real. Me ha parecido que las explicaciones que se dan para la existencia del agujero de gusano en el armario de Karl son muy poco elaboradas o casi inexistentes. Entendería que a este tipo de cosas no se les diera mucha importancia si se tratara de un libro infantil-middle grade, pero al tratarse de un libro enfocado a un público adulto, y que por lo tanto es más exigente, creo que lo suyo hubiera sido que se explicara con mayor detenimiento algunas situaciones, y que se ofreciera una teoría más elaborada sobre cómo es posible que se produzcan esos viajes en el tiempo. Cuando digo que el libro es juvenil-adulto me refiero a que aunque es un libro sencillo que se puede leer bien, contiene escenas y vocabulario de caracter adulto.
También me gustaría destacar que para un/a escritor/a es todo un reto escribir sobre estos temas, porque hay que tener en cuenta multitud de factores para no caer en contradicciones, y que al final el libro tenga sentido. Es por esto por lo que me gustaría felicitar a la autora, porque creo que ha hecho un trabajo muy bueno.
Lena y Karl es un libro lleno de referencias musicales que creo que pueden entusiasmar a los más fanáticos de la música, sobretodo a aquellos fans del género indie. Otro aspecto a destacar es que se hacen muchas referencias al movimiento body positive, y aunque me hubiera gustado que se tratara desde otra perspectiva, sí se hace mucho hincapié en que hay que quererse a uno mismo y a los demás por lo que son.

En cuanto a los personajes, es en este aspecto donde he tenido más problemas, y es que no he llegado a entender la relación entre los dos protagonistas. Me ha resultado todo muy precipitado y forzado, además de surrealista. Tanto Karl como Lena me han parecido muy inmaduros y con comportamientos muy extraños, a pesar de tener cuarenta años. Es como si el libro hubiera estado escrito con personajes adolescentes y a última hora la autora hubiera decidido que fueran adultos.

Estamos ante una historia fresca y entretenida sobre viajes en el tiempo, música y amor. La primera novela de una escritora a la que creo que no hay que perder de vista.
Profile Image for Andrew.
59 reviews12 followers
March 4, 2017
Fun first half with a really unique look at time travel and its uses. However it devolves a lot in the second half as it gets more serious, but the themes it tries to take on just don't mix with the more jovial first half. Some of the characters' motivations were frustratingly unrealistic too.
Profile Image for Heather.
694 reviews15 followers
September 14, 2016
(2.5 stars, rounding up)

At the start of this novel we meet Karl, who's a 40-year-old single dude who owns a bar in Chicago. He used to be the guitarist for an indie rock band that was kind of big in the late '90s, but now he just has his bar, and his best guy friend, Wayne. Until he accidentally discovers he also, apparently, has a wormhole in his apartment: he's searching for one of his boots in his closet one day and suddenly finds himself sucked through the floor and then in the past, a few months back. He lands at a nearby rock club, at a show he'd actually seen, and then finds himself back in the present. He tells Wayne, who writes a program that lets them send themselves/other people to specific places/times in the past, and they launch a business in which they send people back to see particular bands/shows/performances, by request. But then Wayne wants to go to 1980 and prevent John Lennon from being killed, which Karl is not OK with: fucking with the past seems like a bad idea and a slippery slope. Heated words are exchanged, but Karl agrees to send Wayne back—but then accidentally sends him to 980, rather than 1980.

The rules around time travel in this book felt like a lot of hand-waving, which kind of bugged me at first, but eventually I was OK with just suspending disbelief (Wayne can send texts and emails from the past? Yeah, OK. I actually think there might sort of be an explanation for this at the end of the book, but in the midst of things it felt a bit weird.)

So anyway: Wayne is in 980, and Karl doesn't know how to get him back, because the normal procedure relies on ambient electricity in the past from which the person is traveling. Wayne tells him to find an expert, which leads Karl to meet Lena, who's in the PhD program for astrophysics at Northwestern. He tells her about the wormhole; she thinks he's nuts; he shows her; they time travel together; they start dating. Together and separately, they travel into the past and/or future and try not to mess things up too badly. The book ends up being a time-travel story and a love story and a story about figuring out what you want, what you would keep the same about your life and what you would change if you could.

I wanted to like this book more than I did, which isn't to say it was bad—and maybe part of my problem with it was a lack of momentum on my part (I started reading it on an airplane, then didn't read at all over the course of a mini-vacation in Oregon, and then picked it up in earnest again after arriving home). I found the beginning fairly fun, the middle sort of slow-going, and the build-up to the end pretty great—which may have been as much about where I was, reading-wise, as about the book's pacing, I don't know.
Profile Image for Taryn.
1,206 reviews187 followers
January 20, 2016
Despite how it’s being pitched, this book IS NOT science fiction. Publishers take note: just because a book’s plot may contain events that couldn’t happen in our current universe as we know it doesn’t mean it’s an automatic candidate for the sci-fi shelf. In order to be sci-fi, there has to be some kind of explanation or exploration of the phenomenon being addressed (in this case, time travel). Simply having a character fall into a wormhole in his closet and following it up with a paragraph in which the character’s friend casually plugs in a couple laptops and writes a software program mysteriously able to harness and direct the time-transporting powers of the wormhole is not a sufficient explanation for the seasoned sci-fi crowd.

(To prove the point, I read this section of the novel aloud to Adam, and he finally covered his ears and begged me not to read any more. As a trained software engineer, one of his pet peeves is when people treat technology as if it’s magic. It’s not. It’s science, and it works because someone made it work, no wands or spells required.)

So yeah, if you’re a hard science fiction fan, Daviau’s playing fast and very, very loose with the laws of physics may drive you a bit bonkers. But if you, like me, are more of a lit-fic enthusiast, someone who can swallow her disbelief to get to the chewy romantic center at the heart of this novel, then you should be just fine.

I really enjoyed the halting but sweet romance between forty-year-old bumbling bartender Karl and nerdy, damaged astrophysicist Lena. Just like on The Big Bang Theory, the story gets a whole lot better once the female character has a turn at the wheel. Lena’s character arc brought up a lot of deep, philosophical questions: about what I would change about my past if I could, and just how much those things have made me who I am. There’s also a lot of talk of ‘90s indie rock bands, but I’m proof that you don’t have to recognize a single band name to have a wacky good time with this book. The “bands” I was personally fond of in the ‘90s were more practiced with hair gel than musical instruments, if you know what I mean.

With regards to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the advance copy. On sale 9 February 2016.

More book recommendations by me at www.readingwithhippos.com
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