Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking

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The shifting chronology also makes it difficult for readers to get their sea legs. Important information is doled out in pieces, out of reading order, and this is for a plot that’s confusing enough on its own. It doesn’t help that every character suffers from what we might call Lost syndrome...
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

After drifting between school and dead-end jobs, a young man makes the decision to return to the city he left after high school. The magnet is his beloved older sister, Grace: the golden girl, smart and charismatic even when rebelling, and always his hero. Now she is a promising graduate student in science and the center of a group of friends that take “Little Brother” into their fold, where he finds camaraderie, romance, and even a decent job.

But it soon becomes clear that all is not well with Grace. She veers into sudden rages, often directed at her seemingly adoring boyfriend, John, who is engaged in the same field of research. Her accusations of betrayal are cryptic, and her brother is especially confused and troubled when she turns on him, accusing him of a fatal disloyalty. A visit to their mother triggers an episode that suggests Grace has tumbled into serious mental illness—except that John seems to know more than he is telling, and some supposedly objective certainties about what is real seem to be starting to fracture.

When Grace disappears, the narrator embarks on a mission to discover the truth, a quest that brings him up against an astonishing question: if the universe is infinite, could there be infinite variations of ourselves, past, present, and future, in a dimension only a few can even imagine? And if there are, and we could enter that dimension, what might confront us? And could we ever make it back?

 

About Jay Hosking

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JAY HOSKING obtained his neuroscience PhD at the University of British Columbia. At the same time, he also completed a creative writing MFA. His short stories have appeared in The Dalhousie Review and Little Fiction, been long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes short story competition, and received an editor’s special mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, where he researches decision making and the human brain.
 
Published January 24, 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books. 288 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Three Years with the Rat
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Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Hingston on Aug 19 2016

The shifting chronology also makes it difficult for readers to get their sea legs. Important information is doled out in pieces, out of reading order, and this is for a plot that’s confusing enough on its own. It doesn’t help that every character suffers from what we might call Lost syndrome...

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