The Undoing Of Arlo Knott is a time travel contemporary fantasy.
Arlo Knott has the ability to go back in time so that he could change an outcome of an event. He first discovered this ability as a teenager, when he moved time during a school class. With practice he learns how to ‘unknot’ time for longer periods.
The story follows Arlo between the ages of thirteen and thirty-six. As he sought ways to feel adored and appreciated, his ‘undoing’ was not used for the most altruistic of purpose, and it wasn’t until later in life that he used it to help others when he joined the police force.
Haunting Arlo throughout all this is the universe with its cause and effect principles, and every ripple that Arlo causes in time begins to nibble at the edges of reality.
At first I wasn’t keen on this book, as the first three chapters of scene setting didn’t capture my attention as much as I’d expected. However, once Arlo began experimenting with ‘undoing’, I became much more interested in reading on. At the height of his unfastening of events, there was a chance that the story would become so complex that it became too hard to follow, but the author did a good job and I didn’t feel lost. In fact Arlo had my sympathies, at times, with how hard he struggled to produce, what he hoped was, the best outcome for a scenario. I thought the twelve weeks working in Colombia clearing landmines was a very interesting chapter and I liked the questions that it later left about what happened to Arlo’s team when they all returned home.
Towards the end of the book there are hints about the consequences and other alternatives that surround the ‘unknotting’ of time which I was interested in. However I felt that they were only briefly dealt with, while leaving the ending very open and a little disappointing.
Overall an interesting topic which considered ‘what if’ questions that so many of us ask at times.
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What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?
Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…
But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.