If, Then

If, Then

The residents of a sleepy mountain town are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality in this dazzling debut that combines the family-driven suspense of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere with the inventive storytelling of The Immortalists.In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parall...

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Title:If, Then
Author:Kate Hope Day
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Edition Language:English

If, Then Reviews

  • Scott

    I loved this book so much that when I finished the first time, I went back and re-read it immediately. It's beautifully written and quietly powerful. Would highly recommend this book

  • Julie Langsdorf

    I loved this time warping, mind twisting novel! Day's prose is convincing and beautiful, whether she is writing from the point of view of a doctor doing surgery, to a scientist doing field work, to a realtor selling houses. She handles the unusual bumps and folds of time that the story reveals in an equally expert way. I often thought of Tom Perrotta's wonderful The Leftovers as I read it, in the sense that she made me believe that unbelievable things could actually happen. This is literary fict

    I loved this time warping, mind twisting novel! Day's prose is convincing and beautiful, whether she is writing from the point of view of a doctor doing surgery, to a scientist doing field work, to a realtor selling houses. She handles the unusual bumps and folds of time that the story reveals in an equally expert way. I often thought of Tom Perrotta's wonderful The Leftovers as I read it, in the sense that she made me believe that unbelievable things could actually happen. This is literary fiction with a delicious element of science fiction that will appeal to lovers of both. Don't miss it.

  • Michelle

    I suppose we've all asked ourselves the question....

    .... I had made this choice ....

    ....how would my life be different? That is the question that Kate Hope Day explores in this novel.

    - in a neighborhood just like any other - four neighbors experience alternate realities via hallucinations or visions.

    - devoted surgeon and married mother of an 11 year old son suddenly has a vision that she and a female co-worker and friend are romantically involved.

    - Ginny's

    I suppose we've all asked ourselves the question....

    .... I had made this choice ....

    ....how would my life be different? That is the question that Kate Hope Day explores in this novel.

    - in a neighborhood just like any other - four neighbors experience alternate realities via hallucinations or visions.

    - devoted surgeon and married mother of an 11 year old son suddenly has a vision that she and a female co-worker and friend are romantically involved.

    - Ginny's husband and scientist has a vision of himself filthy and in tattered clothing after what appears to be some sort of volcanic explosion

    - has a vision of her recently deceased mother that she is still mourning and it appears she didn't know her mother as well as she thought she did.

    - a new mother that is just barely coping and wishes to return to her career has a vision that she is pregnant again.

    I won't even attempt to tell you that I understood what was happening in this book but, still, I couldn't stop turning the pages. The premise was just so compelling and the writing is fabulous. I felt as if the author really transported me to this cul-de-sac neighborhood in Oregon. While I liked all of the characters in this book (WHAT? THAT NEVER HAPPENS!) it was Mark's story that really held my attention. I found the ending to be satisfying. 4 visionary stars!

  • Elizabeth

    If, Then is a short, quiet novel--but it's also a fascinating one. I wish If, Then had gotten more attention because it's absolutely wonderful.

    Set in a fictional town near a (also fictional) presumably "dormant" volcano in the Pacific Northwest, If, Then posits that we live multiple lives in multiple ways at the same time (aka multiverse) and has her characters get a glimpse into these other lives--some better, some worse--as the volcano starts to rumble. What's interesting is that for two of th

    If, Then is a short, quiet novel--but it's also a fascinating one. I wish If, Then had gotten more attention because it's absolutely wonderful.

    Set in a fictional town near a (also fictional) presumably "dormant" volcano in the Pacific Northwest, If, Then posits that we live multiple lives in multiple ways at the same time (aka multiverse) and has her characters get a glimpse into these other lives--some better, some worse--as the volcano starts to rumble. What's interesting is that for two of the main female characters, it offers pleasant changes from their current lives (in one, a different partner, in other, the return of a lost loved one), while the main male character sees nothing but pain and suffering.

    But who I really want to talk about is Cassandra (who is so perfectly named) -- a one time graduate student who stopped work on her philosophy dissertation because of her newborn daughter, Leah. Cassandra wants to start working on her dissertation again, but she can't find a way back into her work on the study of a unifying theory of everything.

    Then, a note from her former mentor--who is ill in every varation of every mc's life--one that leaves a clue that has her negotiating what seems to be the same place as everyone else (it isn't) while seeing "flashes" of herself as somehow pregnant again but with no sign of her daughter.

    By the end, Cassandra has found a way back into her dissertation and feels content with the idea of the multiverse and how it works, imagining (actually seeing) a bunch of different babies in her arms as she reflects on the area volcano being monitored for signs of a one day maybe erruption, to how everything is connected, how happy her family is and makes her, and contentedly falls asleep to the sounds of their breathing.****

    Also by the end--the two other female mcs have lived through the volcano errupting (but not in a major way, largely infrastructure loss with only a few deaths) but also decided to understand what they want and can have and to go for it. For the male mc, Mark--well, he doesn't end up as tragic as the "other" self he sees, but he still can't see the folly of trying to keep fate/change/whatever you want to call it at bay. If, Then falters in Mark's sections because it tries to make a point that eludes itself. (Which might have been the point, but it doesn't gel as a sense of anything except overwrought in a novel that's otherwise very well calibrated)

    ****

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    The last bit, with Cassandra--she's dead, right? Alive in the other characters' existence, but as a new mom to a baby boy and no signs of going back to school--her theory of everything only exists in a place where it will never be seen. She, Cassandra, has a truth no one will hear.

    And I love that! It's just so well done. And if you've read it, what did you think happened to Cassandra?

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    this is a fun, slipstreamy ‘what-if’ novel that gently floats the possibility of parallel realities as four characters living in a small oregon town begin to experience visions — seeing alternate versions of themselves living completely different lives, having made different choices at their crossroads of love or career; lives with different partners, 'realities' where their dearly departed are still alive and well, or… most alarmingly, seeing a doppelgänger whose appearance sugg

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!

    this is a fun, slipstreamy ‘what-if’ novel that gently floats the possibility of parallel realities as four characters living in a small oregon town begin to experience visions — seeing alternate versions of themselves living completely different lives, having made different choices at their crossroads of love or career; lives with different partners, 'realities' where their dearly departed are still alive and well, or… most alarmingly, seeing a doppelgänger whose appearance suggests a catastrophe on a much larger scale than the personal.

    what is causing these visions, presaged by a metallic taste, a tightening of the air, a tremor in the ground? is it the awakening of Broken Mountain, the town’s long-dormant volcano? is it the theoretical multiverse making itself known? is it a coincidence that those affected include a scientist studying the effects of geothermal activity on animal behavior? or an academic whose area of study, before pregnancy paused her PhD, was metaphysics, specifically these very hypothetical alternate worlds? is it a coincidence that the four characters driving this story are not only neighbors, but also connected through circumstance in unexpectedly intimate ways? of course it's not, and this tricksy little novel has so very many delicious surprises in store.

    this goes down smooooooooth like cream soda. i’d only intended to dip into it, see what it was all about, but i got sucked in immediately and between the clean prose, the ping-ponging POVs and the addictive ‘what is going on??’ of the intrigue, i zoomed straight through without even realizing it.

    it's sci-fi lite - the speculative elements are used to explore contemporary/domestic themes concerning family and marriage - examinations of regret and dissatisfaction and complacency; an opportunity for characters to re-evaluate their life choices, with a tacit invitation to the reader to do the same. it's not some new age-y puff piece pretending to be a novel, though - there's meat in this sandwich and it satisfies that food-for-thought hunger.

    book club appeal for days, but probably not for SF purists.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    Can speculative domestic dramas be a new trend? Because I would like to read at least five more books like this one. It takes the kind of complex character building I really enjoy and adds unexpected elements and surreal twists that keep it from feeling like anything close to the same old thing.

    At the heart of this book is what usually exists just in your mind as you wonder what other paths your life could have taken if you'd made a different decision. But in this book, those other selves are ev

    Can speculative domestic dramas be a new trend? Because I would like to read at least five more books like this one. It takes the kind of complex character building I really enjoy and adds unexpected elements and surreal twists that keep it from feeling like anything close to the same old thing.

    At the heart of this book is what usually exists just in your mind as you wonder what other paths your life could have taken if you'd made a different decision. But in this book, those other selves are ever-so-briefly made real to a group of characters in an Oregon town. In the middle of a normal day they will see, for an instant, another version of themselves that is much the same but slightly different. As these visions recur, they have varying consequences for everyone involved. A woman starts to wonder about the possibility of life with a female coworker by her side instead of her husband. A daughter views glimpses of her recently-dead mother planning a new start and starts to reconsider who her mother was.

    I particularly loved Cass, the brilliant-philosopher-turned-new-mom who is not sure she will ever go back to finish her PhD. She reminded me of two other recent brilliant female characters in 2019 novels, in LOST AND WANTED and THE TENTH MUSE, and I am hopeful there are even more coming.

    This is the kind of book that could do really well in a book club, generating a lot of discussion and a good way to dip your toe into speculative fiction for clubs that may be hesitant to move into genre novels.

  • Katie B

    The book held my interest but I can't say I was left feeling all that satisfied by the time the story wrapped up. While the explanation of why everything occurred wasn't the thing that bothered me, I had this empty feeling when I was done reading because it felt like I got nothing out of the whole purpose of the story.

    I rarely read science fiction but I thought the premise for this one sounded like it had potential. Basically four neighbors are just living their lives in Oregon when some weird

    The book held my interest but I can't say I was left feeling all that satisfied by the time the story wrapped up. While the explanation of why everything occurred wasn't the thing that bothered me, I had this empty feeling when I was done reading because it felt like I got nothing out of the whole purpose of the story.

    I rarely read science fiction but I thought the premise for this one sounded like it had potential. Basically four neighbors are just living their lives in Oregon when some weird stuff starts happening. They have these visions where they see themselves in this alternate reality. What the heck is going on?

    I gave this one 3 stars because this was a page turner for me. But if I ask myself, did I really get anything out of this read?, I would have to say no. I've read some of the other reviews and that certainly wasn't the case for everyone. It's not a bad book and I don't regret reading, I just wish I would have connected more with the overall message of the story.

    I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

  • Rachel

    is a quiet, speculative novel about four neighbors living in suburban Oregon. Ginny and Mark are an unhappily married couple, Samara is a young woman coping with the recent death of her mother, and Cass is a young mom who's had to sacrifice her academic ambitions for motherhood. Gradually the novel introduces the possibility of parallel realities which have begun to overlap, as each character starts to see visions of an alternate version of themselves. Throughout the course of the short

    is a quiet, speculative novel about four neighbors living in suburban Oregon. Ginny and Mark are an unhappily married couple, Samara is a young woman coping with the recent death of her mother, and Cass is a young mom who's had to sacrifice her academic ambitions for motherhood. Gradually the novel introduces the possibility of parallel realities which have begun to overlap, as each character starts to see visions of an alternate version of themselves. Throughout the course of the short novel we study each of these characters and unearth the decisions each of them made which prevented their other self's reality from coming to fruition.

    While I enjoyed this from start to finish and found the ending in particular to be utterly brilliant, I ultimately think I was hoping for more from this novel's speculative angle. Suburban life is chronicled convincingly, and each character is constructed carefully, but I don't think this digs deep enough to be the kind of character-driven novel it's trying to be. This could have been offset by the concept of parallel realities playing a larger role, but instead, that element is more of a vehicle used by the author to explore the novel's central concept: if I had done this instead of that, then what would have happened as a result? Still, it's a quick and thought-provoking read, and though it's underdeveloped in places I think some of the ideas it raises are interesting enough to make up for that. 3.5 stars.

  • Jessica Sullivan

    Do you ever read one of those books where you realize you’re 80% done with it and nothing has really even happened? That was this book. There’s an interesting kernel of an idea here—about multiverses and what happens when they overlap—but it just never goes anywhere, and when it finally does (kind of?) it’s rushed and winds up feeling very incomplete. This would have been more acceptable if it were a different kind of book, the kind where internal character development takes precedence of plot,

    Do you ever read one of those books where you realize you’re 80% done with it and nothing has really even happened? That was this book. There’s an interesting kernel of an idea here—about multiverses and what happens when they overlap—but it just never goes anywhere, and when it finally does (kind of?) it’s rushed and winds up feeling very incomplete. This would have been more acceptable if it were a different kind of book, the kind where internal character development takes precedence of plot, but it wasn’t that. It was too shallow to be that. It’s very clear that this was trying to be something like Dark Matter. Overall I found this extremely amateur and disappointing, and am baffled by reviews that claim it has any depth.

    *Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Ova - Excuse My Reading

    Didn't finish - abandoned at page 120

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