My Travels With a Dead Man by Steve Searls is a story of time travel, centered around the author Jorge Luis Borges.
My Travels With a Dead Man is told from the point of view of Jane Takako Wolfsheim. She has a stroke and her life is saved by a charismatic homeless man named Jorge Luis Borges. They meet again several years later, and she falls in love with him. She discovers she can travel to different places, times and realities, while being haunted by ‘the man in black’ and the ghost of the haiku master, Basho. Her parents are then murdered, and Jane flees with Borges. The story then has twists and turns as Jane figures out how to control her powers and who she can trust in this strange new reality.
My Travels With a Dead Man is available to buy on Steve’s website, at Black Rose Writing, and on Amazon on eBook and paperback. Don’t forget to add it to your list on Goodreads! It’s also available to read through Kindle Unlimited.
I initially found this book a little confusing — reflecting Jane’s own confusion as she also doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. She falls asleep then wakes up to find that months have passed, that she is in a different country, or that events have taken place that she doesn’t recall. But, as My Travels With a Dead Man progresses, you begin to understand more about Jane and her powers. She is initially naive and quite passive, allowing others to treat her poorly and trusting blindly. I enjoyed seeing her character develop throughout the book as she becomes more confident and learns to trust her own intuition. You learn what’s going on as Jane does, which I really enjoyed.
Borges is also a fascinating character, and like Jane, I couldn’t decide whether he was trustworthy or not. He admits he is a monster — but claims he has Jane’s best interests at heart, saving her from some awful situations. We later meet his mother, and again, the whole way through I wasn’t sure who’s story was true. This made for a great story — I was absorbed into Jane’s world and wanted to find out what was going to happen next.
There are hints of Japan throughout the story, with Jane herself being half-Japanese. She has regular visions of Basho and The Great Buddha of Kamakura, too. I enjoyed these interludes — they add to the confusion around what is real and what is not. The descriptions of Kamakura Daibutsu are so beautiful, powerful and vivid that it’s made me want to visit one day, too.
Steve has created a very interesting take on time travel and magic powers. I was cheering for Jane throughout the tale, wanting her to break free from her ties and obligations. I enjoyed reading My Travels With a Dead Man — it is a fascinating tale of love, time travel and mystery. It was a struggle to put this down! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories on time travel, or alternate worlds and histories.
The blurb for My Travels With a Dead Man
Jane Takako Wolfsheim learns she can alter time and space after meeting a charismatic stranger named Jorge Luis Borges.
Inextricably she falls for Borges. Soon, however Borges’ lies and emotional abuse, and nightmares about a demonic figure, “the man in black,” nearly drive Jane mad. After her parents are murdered, Jane flees with Borges. Both the ghost of haiku master, Basho, and the Daibutsu of Kamakura, a statue of Buddha that appears in her dreams, offer her cryptic advice. Unable to trust anyone, Jane must find the strength to save herself, her unborn child, and possibly the future of humanity.
About the author, Steve Searls
Steve Searls retired from the practice of law in 2002 due to a rare chronic autoimmune disorder (Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Cell Associated Periodic Syndrome).
He began writing poetry in 2001 and, using the pseudonym, Tara Birch, was the featured poet of Tryst Poetry Journal’s Premiere Issue. He’s also published numerous poems as Tara Birch in print and online, including the poetry chapbook, Carrots and Bleu Cheese Dip, in 2004.
Steve was also active as a blogger posting under the name, Steven D, at Daily Kos (2005-2017), Booman Tribune (2005-2017) and caucus99percent (2016–present). Steve’s published essays on Medium include “Clara’s Miracle,” about his wife’s cancer and resulting traumatic brain injury from chemotherapy, and “My Rape Story.”
Raised in Colorado, he now lives with his adult son in Western NY. My Travels With a Dead Man is his first novel.