The Infinite Now
By Mindy Tarquini
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fiction
Synopsis: In flu-ravaged 1918 Philadelphia, Fiora Vicente, the freshly orphaned and forward-thinking daughter of the local fortune teller, has goals. She has ambitions. But when faced with a future she hasn’t planned, she has second thoughts–and casts her community into a stagnant bubble of time.
Inside the bubble, life among Fiora’s superstitious neighbors continues, but nothing progresses, swamped by a steady stream of unspent seconds. As the pressure builds Fiora realizes she must find the courage to collapse the bubble–or risk trapping her dreams in an unbearable, unyielding, and infinite Now.(less)
This book, this book... Every once in a while I pick up something completely original and truly unexpected. The Infinite Now was and is exactly that. A rare and beautifully welcomed surprise that held my interest and captivated me on all fronts.
In the heart of a small Italian immigrant community in Philadelphia the influenza is sweeping through at an unforgiving rate, leaving many orphans and deaths in its wake. Among them is young Fiora Vicente, the modern thinking, strong-willed daughter of a fortune-teller claimed by the illness. But when she finds uncertainty and fear within her future, her own trepidation places a protective bubble around the city, guarding against time and what is to come. But as time refuses to move forward, Fiora soon learns it is not without consequence. The lack of advancement is creating an insurmountable pressure that may have the most dire results. But can she face the unknown and will herself to accept the life that will come without this bubble?
Classifying The Infinite Now as historical fiction might actually be inaccurate. If I am completely honest, I am unsure as to what genre I would label this as. This dynamic story manages to cover a wide ranges of topics all tucked within a magical experience that offers a rich historical background and setting that is ripe with elements of fantasy. The result is something quite spectacular that will manage to appeal to wide range of readers.
Fiora Vincente is energetic, determined and stubborn. Viewed by many of the locals with a scrutinous eye, she has developed a bit of a shell and an attitude. I loved her for it. Her modern ideals play wonderfully with the dated setting, animating her and providing spirit that can only be appreciated. A sundry of supporting characters compliment the story and add incredible depth. I enjoyed each for a variety of reasons. Their growth felt rewarding and viable.
Tarquini establishes a world that seems almost tangible. Each detail is a testament the amount of time and care that has went into crafting this small community. Her approach to life and the influenza epidemic feel accurate and researched, yet she manages to successfully incorporate surreal moments into the fold, delivering something new and refreshing.
Swathed in layers of the unexpected, the seamless narration and multidimensional story delivers an endearing and powerful look at life and the choices we make. The only downside might be found within the ending, but this will be left to each reader to interpret on a personal level. For myself, I feel I understand what that author was trying to convey, but it would be impossible to explore that further without revealing too much.
Fans of well-developed historical setting and magical realism alike are likely to find something of great worth within The Infinite Now.
Enjoyed with a hot cup of Green Jasmine Oolong.