Time runs backwards in this unusual and ambitious novel which tracks members of the Montague family from Petone, New Zealand, in 2002 back to Oxford, England, in 1651. In between, it touches down in Petone during World War Two, then London in 1820 and even earlier, including the time of the Plague and the Great Fire. The novel ends - or rather 'begins' - with the true story of Anne Green, who in 1650 was hanged at the gallows and dragged off as a corpse by physicians to be dissected but who then miraculously 'recovered' on the postmortem table amidst uproar and scandal with no greater injury than a rope burn on her neck. Each character lives and dies by the achievements and misadventures of medical science. This new novel by the author of The Curative and Within the Kiss walks back through history revealing what we've come to recognise as typical Charlotte Randall obsessions - notably a maddeningly odd vocabulary (often used for shock effect) and bizarre medical matters. It is light on character (because there are so many of them) but also challenging and amusing. The novel contains design features to help the reader through this wandering historical plot.
Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Fiction Category 2005.