Rachel Finch is twelve years old and in love—not with a neighborhood boy, but with the Dewey decimal system, call numbers and the cellophane covers of library books . . . also with time travel, a superhero she knows only as S-Man and, above all, Franz Kafka. She considers herself a very different young girl—until she makes the acquaintance of a classmate who challenges that sense of otherness. |
In this utterly inventive debut novel, we are irresistibly drawn into a world where Rachel, who many years later narrates our story, has begun to lead a double life. Severely asthmatic and deemed bookish and delicate by her family, she takes clandestine time-bending excursions with S-Man to rescue some of history’s greatest literary geniuses. Swooping in on Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Chinua Achebe, among others, Rachel’s rescue missions are a rollicking ride through literary history, while her day-to-day life in Teaneck, New Jersey, emotively reflects the civil rights movement in 1960s America.
Writing with a confidence, intelligence and playfulness rare for a first-time novelist, Beth Bosworth has given us a book brimming with magical realism and boundless imagination, in which literary references, great humor and political consciousness fully blossom into a significance far beyond the grasp of a twelve-year-old girl. Witty and wise, with deftly rendered shadings of the heart, Tunneling is at once boldly fanciful and remarkably down-to-earth.