Ah! So Many Possibilities!
When I picked up “Troy’s Possibilities” I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was written by an unknown author, his debut novel, with a blurry description. Is it sci-fi? Drama? General fiction?
I don’t regret giving this book a chance, I have found a profound drama, which leaves you thinking deeply about the meaning of things and your own course of life. However, even after reading it – I can’t seem to be able to label it, which is maybe a good thing, but sadly may get other people to ignore it.
The idea in the heart of the novel is not original, we have seen it on the silver screen with “Sliding Doors”, “The Butterfly Effect” and even old “Groundhog day”. Although the way it’s manifested in Troy’s Possibilities is quite unique:
Troy gets to live choices he had made as alternative routes for his life. The problem is that he can’t control it. In fact, in a sense it controls him: he could be living a full life of years and years, not knowing if it’s real life or a “possibility” that will end with him blinking back to 2016, when he is in his early thirties. While it can be a blessing, Troy’s mentions numerous times that when you get this “do-over” you cannot control what the other person does, so even if you do everything right, and the other person chose differently – the future would be different. A good thing if the love of your life vanishes to Australia in a possibility; a bad thing if you are married to your high school sweetheart with a child and poof you are whisked back to your parents’ house when you’re fifteen, only now she doesn’t feel the same.
There’s one constant that seems to return to Troy’s existent, in whichever possibility he is, and that’s Cat. Is she for real? Is she part of a bigger scheme that the universe holds for Troy? Is she the sun for his moonlike measurable existence? And if so, why is it so darn complicated?
Again, I enjoyed “Troy’s Possibilities” and the idea that stood behind it. It doesn’t lack problems though: at times I wasn’t sure whether the author himself got confused from what’s real and what was just a possibility, referring to things that should not have happened. Also, the multiple futures Troy had, in which he lived a full life – weren’t convincing enough, at least not as much as the shorter scenarios that took hours or weeks. Moreover, while I was hooked in fully in the first third of the book, I felt like it lost momentum as the storyline dragged on, to a somewhat predictable ending.
Having said all the above I liked the clues that the author planted towards the conclusion, I liked the characters – they were very complex and I could easily identified with Troy, and I liked the rich world of metaphors and language. “A thousand quips formed and died on my lips” thinks the protagonist and I couldn’t identify more, being an aspiring author myself.
I also liked a cute recurring scene where Troy helps this old couple chose something, between the husband’s choice and the wife’s, I found it a playful way of demonstrating Troy’s problem that each “future” can turn differently if one person chooses a bit differently.
For a debut novel, Strong has done a good job, and while it doesn’t lack issues it is a good read that will live you thinking. Hence why I decided to rate this book 4 stars, and to recommend it.