The Other Times of Caroline Tangent by Ivan D Wainewright – book reviewThe Other Times of Caroline Tangent: Ivan D Wainewright

Grimsdyke Press

Out Now

Time travel and music collide in an enjoyable story that takes in some classic gigs before things take a darker turn.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good time travel story. The possibilities of it all are endless; do you find your younger self and advise them to avoid situations or make certain investments, do you kill Hitler, do you warn people of an impending disaster and save lives by the hundred? The problem with this kind of thing is the implications it could have on your own timeline. What would be the impact on your own life if you were to do any of these things? You could make things worse, you could change the future so that you yourself were never born and your life could never start due to the changes you started. The time travel paradox is the basis for a good amount of novels and films.

But what if you used time travel to visit events and have little or no impact on the world you started out from? What if you took advantage of time travel to go to classic gigs from recent history?

This is the premise of The Other Lives of Caroline Tangent by Ivan D Wainewright and it opens up a topic that is ripe for conversations across pubs and dinner tables: If you could attend any concert from history anywhere in the world, which ones would you go to?

The list is surely endless. Glastonbury festivals that you were unable to get tickets for, early gigs by David Bowie, The Beatles or Pink Floyd or gigs that have passed into legend such as Sex Pistols’ first gig at Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. Then there are gigs by artists who have sadly passed away, so maybe gigs by Nirvana, Amy Winehouse or Jimi Hendrix would top your bucket list.

This is part of the book’s appeal, the thought process that it sets off in your own mind.

While at first glance it might seem a little cavalier to take something as miraculous as time travel and use it as a spatio-temporal gig guide, the potential butterfly effect caused by making changes to a timeline is avoided by our two main characters, Caroline Tangent and her husband Jon, by the simple expedient of going to a gig and returning home, causing as little disruption to the continuum as possible.

Of course, things don’t quite turn out that way, but the changes that result are small, at least initially. There are of course many other twists and turns and things that can go wrong, and The Other Times of Caroline Tangent has surprises up its sleeve that take it far away from its simple starting point.

Along the way, Caroline and Jon take in Glastonbury, Knebworth and Woodstock festivals as well as gigs by Edith Piaf, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel and, for some reason, the Stereophonics.

The book reveals itself to be concerned with relationships, friendship, death and betrayal and without giving too much away, the time travel aspect becomes just a part of a greater whole before things take a turn for the worse as the story develops.

The Other Times of Caroline Tangent is a pleasant and unchallenging read and one that will appeal to all ages. It doesn’t bog itself down with technical details or a search for science facts and the machine by which Caroline and Jon travel through time is left happily unexplained for the large part and instead the book focusses on a very human story, which makes it more relatable than the usual dystopia based time travel tales.

In fact, The Other Times of Caroline Tangent is perhaps primarily a love story or a tale of redemption, a feel-good novel that may well bring a smile to your face.

Now, which Joy Division gig should I go to?

The Other Times of Caroline Tangent can be bought here

Words by Banjo, you can find his Author profile here:

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Banjo has been a music journalist for around a decade, but a music fan since buying his first single at the tender age of nine. A fan of all types of music, having been part of the flowering of punk, its split into many subgenres and having a similar experience with dance music. Thinks he's still a punk despite ample evidence to the contrary

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