Hump Day Reviews: Miss Subways by David Duchovny

Yes, it’s Monday and not Wednesday (i.e. Hump Day).

Yes, I’m reviewing a book written by a celebrity.

Yes, that, David Duchovny, of The X-Files and Californication.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about romance.

This book is being pushed as Magical Realism, and it definitely contains elements thereof. But Miss Subways, Duchovny’s third book, is actually a romance novel.

Some points to consider:

  1. SPOILER ALERT: It contains a happy ending.
  2. The heroine, Emer, is a 40-ish schoolteacher in New York City. The hero, Con, is alternately a writer or an actor, depending on the trajectory of their story.
  3. The heroine defines the scope of the story and shapes her own destiny, but is also changed as a result of her interactions with the hero – who also makes some much-needed changes in his own life in order to make himself “worthy” of the heroine.
  4. There are a few sex scenes, so the book isn’t completely chaste, but it’s also not one I’d categorize as erotica.
  5. Emer decides what she wants from the relationship and directs its outcome, rather than bending to the hero’s whims. She’s an alpha heroine!

If you like time travel romance, this is certainly a twisted one. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but suffice to say that their relationship changes as time and fate bends around them. Magic is involved. And a fair bit of cultural appropriation (which is also poked fun at in the book itself, whoa, meta).

The book crosses quite a number of genres, but overall I’d have to call it a romance for the five reasons illuminated above. It’s a humorous, weird tale, one that cites sources across cultures and eons. It’s a love story set in New York, and dedicated to New York. And it’s really quite a fun read. I even sent a copy to my mom, who couldn’t get it from her local library.

It feels weird recommending a book written by a celebrity that I’ve had a long-standing crush on, maybe because I also wrote an extremely absurd fanfic screenplay about some mythological version of the man himself, back when I was in college. For what it’s worth, I got an A on the screenplay, along with the comment “You got away with a lot” from my professor. Duchovny’s book feels like it’s getting away with a lot, too. It’s almost as if I’m reading a love letter sent forward in time, responding to that ridiculous, cringe-worthy screenplay’s questions about how famous folks find love and who they deem worthy of their attention.

Dear Past Self: David Duchovny is worth your attention. And so is English Literature and not giving a damn what anyone else thinks is cool. You, too, are a goddess in your own weird way. You’ll figure it out.

And now I need to buy a copy of this book to put on my shelf and reread annually, along with Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers. What a strange little pantheon I’ve built. I look forward to finding more of the pillars along the way.

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