Passage, By John David Morley

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The Independent Culture

From Audrey Niffenegger to Back to the Future, culture abounds with fantasies about humans able to travel through time as well as space, an ability that would be both curse and blessing. In an ambitious narrative of considerable imaginative energy, the protagonist, Pablito, sits aboard the Sao Cristobal.

He has been kidnapped by conquistadors but his spirits soar with the liberating sound of the wind, the "inhalations and exhalations of a universe in unceasing motion". Born the same year that Columbus discovered the Americas, he is taken to the New World and raised by Indians.

In the ancient kingdom of Tahuantin-Suyu he becomes trapped in a time warp which condemns him to live forever. The novel is mostly narrated by the mummified but living remains of 500-year-old Pablo, left in a box at a Franciscan Shelter in New York.

In streams of purple but nevertheless persuasive prose, the well-worn metaphor of human life as a journey is passionately and at times refreshingly employed. Passage is as much about storytelling and its enchanting capacity to cross continents and centuries.