Faye, Faraway by Helen Fisher
Published by Gallery Books
Publication date: January 26, 2021
Genres: Childhood, Debut, Fantasy, Fiction
I’ll preface this quick review with the fact that I read Faye, Faraway in the week between the Capitol riot and the inauguration. Translate: my brain was in a petulant snit. Nothing worked and my fuse was between short and non-existent. I needed superlative reading. So, while I was displeased with this novel I rated it as almost good, because for anyone looking for easy reading it’s probably fine.
Faye, Faraway is the story of Faye, a woman whose mother died when she was 8. Now, at 37, married with two daughters of her own, she gains the ability to travel back in time to the years right before her mother died. Her fondest wish has come true—getting to spend time with the most important woman in her life. The author handles this premise well enough by allowing the tender emotion of the situation to take precedence over the scientific minutiae of how such a thing would work and the various disastrous complications that could arise.
Faye arrives in the 1970s of her childhood, not as the child she was, but as the adult she is. This is a magical concept. To return to childhood without having to be a child again. To spend time with your mother while both of you are near the same age. Faye is pulled into her mother’s life, getting to see her as a person not just a parent. After a stay of a couple of days she returns to her present life to find that only hours have passed, giving her hope that she can go back and forth again, spending even more time with her mother before she dies.
The realities of life are not ignored in Faye, Faraway. Her present situation is one that invites scrutiny and would have been premise enough for me. Her husband, after working in finance, has decided he wants to be a vicar. He doesn’t ask her what she thinks about it or if she wants to be a vicar’s wife, but makes the decision himself. She’s just supposed to accept it, despite it never having been a part of their lives before. How can this be an aside, mentioned only a few times? This along with some unexplained choices—the entire novel is addressed to an unknown second person, who Faye seems increasingly desperate to make like her—kept me from relaxing into the mother/daughter story and time travel implications. It almost felt as if the second half of the novel was written by a different person.
If Faye, Faraway sounds like something you want to read, then I have a key mandate. You MUST read the epilogue. Why? Because at the end of the novel’s last page I was almost spitting in fury. The ending felt like the most massive cop-out with no nod to credibility (I realize we’re talking about time travel, but still). It was ludicrous. Then I read the epilogue and thought, ‘Clever.’ It wasn’t enough to make me love the novel, but I did gain respect for how it all came together.
My good friend Susie had a different perspective on Fay, Faraway. You can check out her review here.
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*I received a free copy of this book from Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.*