Mr. Breakfast by Jonathan Carroll
(Melville House, 2023)
Reviewed by Dave M. Roberts
It is quite normal to wonder how life may have turned out if different choices had been made. Would following that hobby as a career have made us happier, or relinquishing ambitions for the sake of a relationship? It is somewhat unusual to be presented with that opportunity. After a spur of the moment decision to get a tattoo, Graham Patterson is offered exactly that. He is drawn to the artwork in a tattooist’s window and in particular a strange and multi-layered piece called Mr Breakfast. After receiving the tattoo, he is told that he can now experience three different versions of his life, one his current life, and two others resulting from different life decisions. He can switch between the lives for a very limited number of times, but must ultimately choose one. From this slightly disappointing and somewhat contrived premise, Carroll spins up a deeply affecting story that explores the way that we choose to live our lives and what is really important to us. Not just that, but how our life decisions affect those around us. Trying to do the right thing does not always work out, and what is actually the right thing when the choices you make ripple out and impact on a great many people?
Review from BSFA Review 20 - Download your copy here.