‘Mr Breakfast’ is the name of the photo that made Graham Patterson famous as a world-renowned photographer. Except this Graham Patterson doesn’t remember taking this photo. In fact, this Graham isn’t even a photographer, he’s a comedian, so whose life is he living?
As Graham reaches a point of crisis in his life, he decides to make one last go of things, buys a ridiculous car and heads out west on a road trip, the final destination being to give up on his mediocre comedy career and get a sensible job. On the way, however, he stops off at a small town in North Carolina and in a moment of impulse, gets tattooed.
That tattoo just so happens to be imbued with magic and gives him the opportunity to take a look at alternate realities of how his life could have turned out if he’d just made different decisions. But as he explores the what-if and if-only moments, his alternate lives start to bleed into one another, leaving Graham with a choice to make one of those potential lives his reality forever.
Sharing the DNA of movies like Sliding Doors and The Weatherman, Jonathan Carroll’s latest novel is a cinematic exploration of nostalgia, regret and self-reflection. The glimpses Graham Patterson is given at his alternate stories are intoxicating with emotional pangs that resonate with a sweet sense of realism. Carrol sensitively shows that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side – more that it is painted in different shades. This isn’t A Christmas Carol-esque salvation story but a tender work of literary fantasy; absorbing and provocative, yet free from the cynicism of a Hollywood redemption arc.
Mr Breakfast is a charming and thoughtful tale, an introspection on reckoning with the choices you make and how they can weigh and balance with personal values and the many opportunities life brings.
Mr Breakfast is out now. Read more reviews with SciFiNow