Title: Mortal Chaos
Author: Matt Dickenson
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Publication date: February 2012
Source: I own a copy.
‘The Butterfly Effect ‘: the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. When a butterfly startles a young rabbit, and the rabbit makes a horse rear, it starts a chain of events, over the course of one day, that will change people’s lives . . . and end people’s lives. From a climber on Everest to a boy in Malawi . . . from a commercial pilot to an American psycho . . . the chaos knows no bounds.
I loved the concept of this story, but then I’ve always been fascinated by ‘the butterfly effect’ or chaos theory and how a singular occurrence can crescendo throughout a series of events. It all begins with the butterfly (which I liked) to set off the chain of events when a rabbit is startled and runs out in front of a racehorse on its exercise, which leads to a vet being called out, which leads to his son being left with keys he should no way have been left with, which results in a deer being startled into bolting into the road, which leads to a car–driven by a pilot on her way to work–hitting the deer, which leads to hold ups at the airport, which leads to … okay, I’m going to stop there before I ruin the entire book for you and everyone knows what’s going to happen before they even begin.
Each and every character is woven into the story from the off with short snapshots of of their parts in the tale as everything unfolds. I loved the brevity of the scenes. Loved the alternating character chapters. If written any other way, it would have no way worked as well as it did–would have lost most of its pizazz and thus been less impactful. And as I read on, and absorbed each scene, I found myself trying to unfurl how they/the occurrence figured into the tale as a whole or how they’d be affected by what had already transpired, and I can only applaud the tightness and the ingenuousness of how tightly they were all woven together to create the bigger picture until we pretty much came full circle and back to where it all began. If I had to criticise it, I’d complain that it felt as though a few too many of the threads were left untied–or endings/outcomes for some characters left unsaid for the reader to make their own presumption. And I’d possibly gripe a little about the slowness of the opening–because if it hadn’t been written as it was, keeping the reader on tenterhooks and trying to fathom where it was all going, then the happenings for each character when looked at as a singular thread could almost have been classified as a little boring. Thankfully, the excellent storytelling made it anything but. Oh, and expect to hit a spot at around 70% when you have a sudden urge to get to the end as soon as possible because you can’t take not knowing how it’s going to wrap-up.
Would I recommend it? Yup, yup, for sure.
My rating: 4 stars
Have you read this title? What’d you think?