The In­fi­nite Now

Mindy Tar­quini Spark­press (OC­TO­BER) Soft­cover $16.95 (280pp) 978-1-943006-34-2 The novel’s po­tent sor­cery lies in the hu­man­ity of its char­ac­ters and the en­ergy of its sto­ry­telling.

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - MEAGAN LOGSDON

Re­plete with poignant de­tails, Mindy Tar­quini’s The In­fi­nite Now is an en­gross­ing tightrope walk over the re­la­tional lines that con­nect hu­man be­ings to each other and to time it­self.

Fiora Vicente is the daugh­ter of the lo­cal for­tune teller in a tightly knit Ital­ian im­mi­grant neigh­bor­hood in Phil­a­del­phia. She is or­phaned by the 1918 flu epi­demic. The el­derly Don Se­bas­tiano takes her in, de­spite the protests of su­per­sti­tious neigh­bors.

All Fiora has left of her mother is a strange cur­tain that mag­i­cally ma­nip­u­lates time. It en­ables her to see the mar­ket­place below her room five min­utes into the fu­ture. When she fore­sees the death of some­one close to her, she pan­ics and some­how seals her lit­tle sec­tion of Phil­a­del­phia into a bub­ble where time moves, though there is no progress. Though this averts one dis­as­ter, it pro­duces many oth­ers, and Fiora must strug­gle to over­come her fears and face the un­re­lent­ing tick of the clock.

Flu-stricken 1918 Phil­a­del­phia comes alive. Although an un­der­cur­rent of magic runs through­out the novel, the re­al­ity of the flu, its vic­tims, and their squalor is ren­dered with stark and sober­ing clar­ity. Nar­rated in Fiora’s voice, the writ­ing achieves a sat­is­fy­ing lyri­cal terse­ness at times, un­adorned and yet deeply mean­ing­ful.

Char­ac­ters—lovely, in­trigu­ing, and fright­en­ing—steer the story to its quiet but pow­er­ful res­o­lu­tion. Don Se­bas­tiano’s kindly but gruff ex­te­rior con­ceals a heart­break­ing se­cret. Fiora shows the courage nec­es­sary to ac­cept life as it comes, even if that in­volves painful loss. But the de­li­ciously creepy guara­trice is a con­stant, me­nac­ing pres­ence, even when she is not phys­i­cally in a scene.

Amidst the de­spair and des­ti­tu­tion wrought by both the flu and the war, there are glim­mer­ings of light and love that ap­pears not al­ways in the most ob­vi­ous of places, par­tic­u­larly in the novel’s ro­man­tic en­tan­gle­ments. If the present mo­ment is max­i­mized, “the in­fi­nite Now is lim­it­less, it is un­yield­ing. And it is not to be wasted.”

The In­fi­nite Now‘s po­tent sor­cery doesn’t lie pri­mar­ily in its for­ays into fan­tasy and myth, but rather in the hu­man­ity of its char­ac­ters and the en­ergy of its sto­ry­telling.

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