Friday Book Review: The Infinite Tides
At first I was not sure that I actually enjoyed this book. As I read the last paragraph, which basically scolds you for hoping that the hopelessness you felt would be relieved, I let out a big sigh and threw it on the coffee table in disappointment.
But, ultimately, the point of this book is that you must appreciate the moment, or life will pass you by. The main character, Keith, is a driven man, most likely on the autism spectrum, who places his goals above all else in his life, including the lives of those who love him. He finally makes his goal a reality, by getting to work on the international space station, but all the rest of his life crumbles around him.
All of the action has already happened though before the book begins. We meet Keith after he has become a shell of a person. So the entire time I was reading this book, I felt like shouting at him to just DO something, anything! But the author so masterfully writes the utter hopelessness that is depression. Keith is earthbound, but untethered; he has no family, no friends, and not even work to bury himself in. I sympathized with him, because I understand people who cannot understand people. His logical mind cannot comprehend the chaos that is other people. He takes things that people say at face value, and if there is an underlying meaning, it's lost on him. It takes loosing his job for him to finally examine the choices he's made in life.
Ultimately, there is a glimmer of hope at the end. He does one kind act for someone else. This tiny thing may be the beginning of a better life for him. But then, inexplicably the earth may also be destroyed by a comet. I thought that was odd, but maybe the point is just to demonstrate that he is finally becoming human - rather than rushing off back to work when they finally are begging for him to come back, he chooses to remain with his new friend, thinking instead about the people that care about him.
This is a sad novel, but very thought provoking. I can't say that it was enjoyable, it left me feeling bereft and lonely every time I put it down. But it also made me hug my daughter a little closer and try to appreciate the life I have, which is ultimately a very good thing.