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The Ministry Of Time, Kaliane Bradley

Reviewed by Kiah

The Ministry of Time
A few months from now, an unnamed British civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry. She learns the government has discovered time travel, and that a number of 'expats' have been brought from different points in history to the present-day to test the possibilities of time travel. Her role is to be a 'bridge' - a liaison, a cultural interpreter, and housemate - to the expat from 1847, Graham Gore.
As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin's lost expedition to the Arctic, so he's rather disoriented to find himself nearly 200 years from anything he knows and living with an unmarried woman who regularly exposes her calves. But a Victorian polar explorer is nothing if not resilient, and he quickly adjusts to peculiar new concepts such as washing machines, germ theory, Spotify, and the collapse of the British Empire.
Over the course of a year, she and Graham navigate modern life together along with the other bridges and expats. And as the months slip by, our unnamed narrator and Graham gradually move from awkward strangers to friends, and then something more.
But as the true shape of the project that brought her and Graham together begins to emerge, she will be forced to face her role in it, and what she is willing to sacrifice to achieve her own ends…
'The Ministry of Time' is a cross-genre tale that swings from light-hearted whimsy, to historical discourse, to simmering romantic tension, to political spy thriller, and back again. By drawing on references to Franklin's lost expedition, the Khmer Rouge, the Holocaust, and other historical events, the book explores how all too easily we can find ourselves teetering between self-preservation and complicity. 'The Ministry of Time' is a captivating, tumultuous rollercoaster of a book that is simultaneously hilarious, unnerving, and impossible to put down.

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The Ministry of Time
Bradley Kaliane