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The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley

The Ministry of Time By Kaliane Bradley

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

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The Time Traveller's Wife meets Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow in a wildly original debut novel by a major new talent.

The Ministry of Time Summary

The Ministry of Time: One of the Observer's Debut Novels of 2024 by Kaliane Bradley

'A thrilling debut... Reads like a novel that was written for pleasure... It's very smart; it's very silly; and the obvious fun never obscures completely the sheer, gorgeous, wild stretch of her ideas'

A 2024 literary highlight in the Sunday Times, BBC, Grazia, Dazed, Sunday Express, GQ, i-D, Stylist, Bookseller and Literary Friction, and an Elle Collective Book Club pick
'Fast moving and riotously entertaining, a genre-busting blend of wit and wonder'
10 best new novelists for 2024, Observer

'Clever, witty and thought-provoking'
KATE MOSSE, author of The Ghost Ship

'Make room on your bookshelves for a new classic'
MAX PORTER, author of Shy

'As electric, charming, whimsical and strange as its ripped-from-history cast'
EMILY HENRY, author of Happy Place

'Thought-provoking and horribly clever - but it also made me laugh out loud'
ALICE WINN, author of In Memoriam

'Outrageously brilliant'
ELEANOR CATTON, author of Birnam Wood

'A feast of a novel - singular, alarming and (above all) incredibly sexy'
JULIA ARMFIELD, author of Our Wives Under the Sea

'A weird, kind, clever, heartsick little time bomb of a book'
FRANCIS SPUFFORD, author of Golden Hill


In the near future, a disaffected civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry gathering 'expats' from across history to test the limits of time-travel.

Her role is to work as a 'bridge': living with, assisting and monitoring the expat known as '1847' - Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin's doomed expedition to the Arctic, so he's a little disoriented to find himself alive and surrounded by outlandish concepts such as 'washing machine', 'Spotify' and 'the collapse of the British Empire'. With an appetite for discovery and a seven-a-day cigarette habit, he soon adjusts; and during a long, sultry summer he and his bridge move from awkwardness to genuine friendship, to something more.

But as the true shape of the project that brought them together begins to emerge, Gore and the bridge are forced to confront their past choices and imagined futures. Can love triumph over the structures and histories that have shaped them? And how do you defy history when history is living in your house?

The Ministry of Time Reviews

What a thrill to come to Kaliane Bradley's debut, The Ministry of Time, a novel where things happen, lots of them, and all of them are exciting to read about and interesting to think about . . . give in to the tide of this book, and let it pull you along. It's very smart; it's very silly; and the obvious fun never obscures completely the sheer, gorgeous, wild stretch of her ideas -- Ella Risbridger * Guardian *
I loved its combination of extreme whimsy, high seriousness and cool understatement - and migration-as-time-travel is a clever conceit -- Johanna Thomas-Corr * The Times *
A high-energy story with thoughtful things to say about belonging -- Martin Chilton * Independent *
Her utterly winning book is a result of violating not so much the laws of physics as the boundaries of genre. Imagine if The Time Traveler's Wife had an affair with A Gentleman in Moscow . . . Readers, I envy you: There's a smart, witty novel in your future -- Ron Charles * Washington Post *
With a thoroughly offbeat love story at its heart and subtly interwoven musings on the UK's imperial legacy, it's fast moving and riotously entertaining, a genre-busting blend of wit and wonder -- 10 best new novelists for 2024 * Observer *
A delightfully audacious screwball comedy -- Katie Goh, Fiction to be excited for in 2024 * i-D *
The perfect mix of witty, sexy and moving * Good Housekeeping *
Bradley's compelling debut novel asks the important question: What if the sexiest guy in the history book moved into your flat? . . . Part romantic comedy, part speculative thriller, the novel weaves together commentary on colonialism, bureaucracy and government with carefully drawn characters and gradually unfurling relationships. Don't start it right before bed unless you want to see the sun come up -- The best books of 2024 * GQ *
It's a smart, gripping work that's also a feast for the senses . . . Bradley's written an edgy, playful and provocative book that's likely to be the most thought-provoking romance novel of the summer * Los Angeles Times *
This funny, compelling novel is not to be missed * Woman & Home *
An assured and fun debut . . . one of our books of the year -- Unmissable books for 2024 * Stylist *
A thrilling time-travelling romance about a real-life Victorian polar explorer who is brought from the past into 21st-century London as part of a government experiment -- 40 best books of 2024 * Sunday Times *
Wildly original . . . How horny can a speculative fiction novel be? Bradley's debut is at once an outrageously fun comedy while also providing keen analyses on the nature of colonialism, power & bureaucracy -- 10 exciting books to look out for in 2024 * Dazed *
Social media is already aflutter about this one, a time-travelling love story -- Novels to look out for in 2024 * Grazia *
The Ministry of Time is set to take you on a seismic literary journey spanning past, present and future . . . Think: 2024's answer to Outlander -- Best summer reads for 2024 * Evening Standard *
One of the year's most exciting debuts is The Ministry of Time . . . a genre-bending romcom about a Victorian polar explorer and a millennial civil servant who end up as housemates thanks to a government experiment in time travel -- 45 of 2024's most anticipated books * *
One of the most anticipated debuts of the year -- Panashe Nyadundu * Elle *
Bradley writes with sparkling vividness and precision, infectiously capturing the mind-bending effects of love. Whizzing up time-travel, romance, espionage, friendship and loss with dazzling assurance, this riotous journey into the British empire and establishment reckons with our colonial past, our myopic present and our fragile future -- Book of the Month * Bookseller *
Within the first couple of pages I was gripped. The novel is clever, witty and thought-provoking, asking the question of what any of us might do if we could engage live with people from the past. Kaliane Bradley is a wonderful writer and I can't wait to read what she does next -- Kate Mosse, bestselling author of THE GHOST SHIP
Holy smokes this novel is an absolute cut above! Kaliane Bradley leaps into a storytelling league of her own. This book is a deadly serious speculative fiction but it is also one of the funniest books I've read in years. It is exciting, surprising, intellectually provocative, weird, radical, tender and moving. I missed it when I was away from it. I will hurry to re-read it. Make room on your bookshelves for a new classic. -- Max Porter, bestselling author of SHY
Smart and affecting, full of ideas plus that slow-burning love story, it's a wonderful debut -- David Nicholls, author of YOU ARE HERE
An outrageously brilliant debut with a premise that just gets more and more original. The Ministry of Time pulls off the neatest trick of speculative fiction, first estranging us from our own era, and then facilitating our immigration back into the present; but it is also a love story, exploratory, sensitive, charged with possibility, and powered by desire, reminding us that history is synonymous with human beings, and that we all have the ability to change it. This is already the best new book I will have read next year -- Eleanor Catton, author of BIRNAM WOOD
As electric, charming, whimsical and strange as its ripped-from-history cast. (Extremely.) I loved every second I spent wrapped up in Kaliane Bradley's stunning prose, the moments that made me laugh and those that made my heart ache. This is a book that surprises as much as it delights, and I'm already impatiently waiting for whatever Bradley concocts next -- Emily Henry, author of HAPPY PLACE
There aren't many books that are as funny as they are clever as they are compelling. The Ministry of Time is hugely enjoyable: ingeniously constructed, beautifully written, and unexpectedly sexy. It is the rarest of creations: a boldly entertaining page-tuner that is also deeply, thoughtfully engaged with our past, present and future. A weird and tender time-travel love story. A brilliantly original debut. Your next crush is a long-dead Arctic explorer -- Joanna Quinn, author of THE WHALEBONE THEATRE
With its ingenious concept and gripping plot, The Ministry of Time is the most fun you could possibly ever have while engaging so seriously with history and our place in it. Bradley has a gift for locating our common humanity in people's irreducible eccentricity. This is a book to read and re-read: you'll want to fall in love with these characters over and over again -- Diana Reid, author of LOVE & VIRTUE
Funny, moving, original, intelligent, beautifully written and with a thunderous plot -- Nathan Filer, author of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL
I haven't enjoyed a book this much for a very long time. A wonderful, joyful, intelligent and hilarious read. I underlined as I read and felt a strong sadness at finishing because I could not read it for the first time again -- Daisy Johnson, author of EVERYTHING UNDER
I gobbled this up in twenty-four hours: I simply could not stop reading it. Kaliane Bradley writes with the maximalist confidence of P. G. Wodehouse, but also with the page-turning pining of Sally Rooney. It's thought-provoking and horribly clever - but it also made me laugh out loud. And it's got a cracking plot! I loved The Ministry of Time and I can't wait for everyone to read it so I can talk about it more -- Alice Winn, author of IN MEMORIAM
A fantastic debut: conceptually brilliant, really funny, genuinely moving, written in the most exquisite language and with a wonderful articulation of the knotty complexities of a mixed-race heritage -- Mark Haddon, author of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
Sly and illusionless in its use of history, lovely in its sentences, warm - no, hotter than that - in its characterisation, devastating in its denouement. A weird, kind, clever, heartsick little time bomb of a book -- Francis Spufford, author of GOLDEN HILL
The Ministry of Time is a feast of a novel - singular, alarming and (above all) incredibly sexy. An astonishingly assured debut, offering weird and unexpected delights on every page. I will be running towards whatever Kaliane Bradley writes next -- Julia Armfield, author of OUR WIVES UNDER THE SEA
What a stunning and remarkable wonder! What if time travel were run by a bureaucracy? It would give us The Ministry of Time - a book that takes the history of colonialism, the British Empire, Cambodian genocide, and other terrible moments of history, and reminds us we are still living with the remnants of these troubled pasts. But also, it's filled to the brim with laugh-out-loud humour, and possibly the best description of a dingy pub I've ever read in my life. There's something for everyone - world history, side-splitting humour, lusty tension, brilliant prose, and characters to root for desperately. Bradley describes someone in the novel as being "sweaty and vibeless", but I want to counter with this: The Ministry of Time is the most vibe-forward book I have ever read -- Vanessa Chan, author of THE STORM WE MADE
Unputdownable, endearing and mind-bending . . . what more could you want out of a contemporary novel? Kaliane Bradley is a timeless talent. Whip-smart, empathetic, and totally original -- Sharlene Teo, author of PONTI
Fantastically fun and deadly serious, The Ministry of Time is an ecstatic celebration of fiction in all its vehement, ungovernable, mutinous glory -- Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING
Sharp, sexy and utterly self-assured, this is the rarest jewel of them all: a book you can press into the hands of everyone you know, and guarantee it will grab them firmly by the lapels. A truly compulsive debut, packed with humour, heart and heat - we are lucky to exist in the same timeline as Kaliane Bradley -- Alice Slater, author of DEATH OF A BOOKSELLER
Compelling, clever, sexy and heartbreaking, The Ministry of Time is one of those books where you reach the end and immediately start again because it's just too hard to let go. Every single page thoroughly delights -- Georgia Summers, author of CITY OF STARDUST
My favourite debut novel in a very long time - sexy, sad, funny and clever. I read it in a in absolute rush -- Jenny Colgan, author of LITTLE BEACH STREET BAKERY
A rare book with very good bones: sharply funny and heart wrenching, a rollicking good time about love, power, politics and time travel -- Sarvat Hasin, author of THE GIANT DARK
The Ministry of Time gave me back the joy of reading. Heady, compulsive and heartbreaking, Kaliane Bradley deftly balances humour and magic with an interrogation of colonialism, nationalism, otherness and climate fear. Simultaneously wild, irreverent and state-of-the-nation, this novel asks us to consider the histories that have led us to the present moment, in order to salvage our uncertain future -- Jessica Andrews, author of MILK TEETH
An exhilarating rush of a novel; ingenious, funny, heart-wrenching, dazzlingly written and bursting with unforgettable characters and ideas. Compulsively readable to the last page, The Ministry of Time captures the utter strangeness of our modern world, and of our possible future too, with one of the most audaciously clever and twisty endings I've ever read -- Susan Barker, author of THE INCARNATIONS

About Kaliane Bradley

Kaliane Bradley is a British-Cambodian writer and editor based in London. Her short stories have appeared in Electric Literature, Catapult, Somesuch Stories and The Willowherb Review, among others. She was the winner of the 2022 Harper's Bazaar Short Story Prize and the 2022 V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize. The Ministry of Time is her first novel.

Additional information

The Ministry of Time: One of the Observer's Debut Novels of 2024 by Kaliane Bradley
Hodder & Stoughton
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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Customer Reviews - The Ministry of Time