• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

The Clarion Reviews: The Museum Of Human History

Have you ever thrown a stone into water and watched how the ripples form and flow from the epicenter? What about questioning your perception of time? Sitting down to read “The Museum of Human History” by Rebekah Bergman brought both of those things to my mind.

I will not say that this is a light and fluffy read. It does draw you in and make you want to stay like any good cozy novel even while filling you with sorrow. It has some hints of futurism, yet mostly reflects the modern world. 

I would advise you to tread with caution if you are a person who reads short chapters. Rebekah Bergman worked her story out to the point that most chapters are as long as 30-40 pages long and some as short as three. So, it is not necessarily for those who have preferred chapter length.

The author gives away the novel’s theme in its title. That’s not to say that it spoils the experience. It is a story about people, life, death, joy, and sorrow. It is as if someone who has lived it all is retelling their memories.

“How, when you curate the past, you change it. The story you tell becomes the story that’s told and everything untold is lost. It’s better than having no story at all, he supposes.”

Rebekah Bergman, The Museum of Human History

Bergman’s book centers around one sleeping girl. Her quarter of a century of sleep is the only part of the story that follows a linear narrative.  All the other stories shared in the novel, however, connect back to her.

The author plays with your perception of time by asking the vital question: what happens when the world stops for one person but keeps going for another? This question is posed in both a literal and metaphorical sense because as one girl sleeps her twin continues to grow and age. One twin ages while the other one never changes, and at the same time the father ages as he takes care of the sleeping girl even while life as he knows it comes to an end.

In her depictions of the future, Bergman focuses on biotechnology. That includes everything from anti-aging methods, de-extinction, and preventing death.  Each one, however comes with a share of drawbacks. 

The process for stopping age kills the elderly and makes the young forget. De-extinction simply makes a species die all over again. And death still comes to those who try and cheat their way to eternal life. 

“Time is a piece of dust landing in a girl’s left eye while she is riding a bicycle.”

Rebekah Bergman, The Museum of Human History

Overall this is a short book, our most ferocious readers could in fact finish it in a day or two. However, I had to stop multiple times because the stories were deeply impactful. Although for most of the stories you will probably not be fazed; I don’t believe there is a way to go through it without stopping and being touched. 

It is a highly underrated novel and although it is not as concise as most books it has charm. You will not be lost in its telling either despite the lack of linearity. It is a work of art in literary form. 

 I hope you question it even more than me and enjoy it as much as I did. My advice to you all is to run and get this book: whether you have to buy or borrow it, add it to your TBR. And when you get a chance read it as soon as you can. 

Faith Harrel, Reporter and Advertising Representative

(Featured Image from Tin House Books)