Light spoiler alert.
In the opening scene of The Obald, one of the lead characters, while in the shower, hears a song she likes on the radio—but misses the artist name and title.
This little mystery hints at something larger. The story begins near the ending, in 2013, and then rewinds to 1983. The 1983 of the novel is both like and unlike the 1983 I lived through in or around the period between 1982 and, er, 1984.
The second half of the novel takes place back in 2013, but is it the same 2013? Is it possible, for example, that the song from the radio no longer exists? And if not, why not?
Another unanswered question in the book concerns a book, or The Book, as it’s known. One of the characters sacrifices a lot to protect the people behind the book – but does he ever read it? He certainly seems to have accepted some of its ideas, but did he need to read it in order to do that?
I didn’t want to make the answers to these questions clear, preferring instead to leave it to the reader to notice, or not, the questions, and think of answers, or not.