If you could go back in time to see any concert, who would you see and why?

“R.E.M. 1980. In Athens, Georgia for their first concert. Also, David Garza, when he planted a big, wet kiss on my cheek at his concert in Austin,” said author Mo Daviau in an interview with The Michigan Daily.

Daviau, a graduate of Smith College and the University of Michigan’s coveted M.F.A. program, used this enthralling question as the premise for her debut book, “Every Anxious Wave,” set to release February 9. He will be giving a reading at Literati on Monday, Febuary 15.

Both an icebreaker and a cunning plot designed to silently judge an individual’s music taste, Daviau brought this innocent conversation starter to life in “Every Anxious Wave.” Delving into the conundrum of time travel and the love, loss and inevitable misadventures it brings, Daviau’s debut novel documents the life of a burned out indie-rock guitarist named Karl Bender and the turn his mundane life takes when he discovers a wormhole in his closet.

That’s right, a wormhole. A rip in the space-time continuum exists in Karl’s Chicago apartment, rests above his beloved bar, which houses alcoholic relief for its regulars and rock concerts for those willing to pay a hefty price.

“I was having a crappy evening of self-pity in 2010 when I had the idea that if I cranked up the song “Sally Wants” by the band Henry’s Dress loud enough I could break the space-time continuum and propel myself back to 1995 and make entirely different life choices,” Daviau said. “This obviously didn’t happen, but instead I sat down and began writing the book.”

This may have been the precise moment Daviau began writing her premiere work, however the idea for it was churning in her mind for years before she first put pen to paper.

After losing her father at the age of sixteen, Daviau always dreamed of spending more time with him to compensate for the lost years of father-daughter bonding. Of course this was an impossible dream, but in her ambitious imagination there was one logical way of achieving it: time travel.

Although Daviau is unable to master the art of time travel herself, she is able instead to cultivate a landscape in which her characters not only master it but use it to correct the losses with which the universe has unfairly burdened them.

What’s most intriguing about this novel, however, is not the wormhole or side story of Karl’s best friend getting stuck in Mannahatta in the year 980. No, what’s most fascinating is Daviau’s remarkable ability to weave a love affair starring the tough, prickly, determinedly independent Lena into a story already consumed by the inconsistencies of time.

It’s not narrator and protagonist Karl that dominates the story; it’s his love interest, Lena. She is dragged into Karl’s life by his desperate need for an astrophysicist to get Wayne, the aforementioned lost-in-time colleague, back from the Stone Age. Lena hurdles into Karl’s bar and life with all the battle scars of a woman who has both endured sexual assault and fought her way to the top of a male-dominated field.

“Lena is an amalgam of various women I have known as friends and colleagues over the years — women who have been slightly beaten down by life, women who have received poor treatment in their careers and education in terms of sexual assault or abuse or any other number of things that happen mostly to women that affect their ability to succeed,” Daviau said.

She’s not just an amalgam; she’s an enigma. Lena and Karl enter into a relationship characterized by a reversal of gender roles and punk rock, but she refuses to continue to bear the burden of her past when an easy solution for her problems presents itself in the form of Karl’s closet. Instead of disclosing her past to Karl, she takes matters into her own hands.

“Girls like Lena are underrepresented in literature,” Daviau said. Modern heroines have presented themselves in the form of “The Hunger Games” ’s Katniss Everdeen and “Divergent” ’s Tris. They are simultaneously strong, unimpeachable, hopelessly beautiful and intelligent. Their fatal flaws make them dynamic, appeal to mass audiences and have created a specific brand of toughness.

The women Daviau strives to convey through Lena are those that have been beaten down time after time by society but still rise up to meet a challenge. The character of Lena isn’t strong because she has been thrown into a dystopian world and has to be, she is strong because brutal circumstances endured in reality have made her that way.

Time travel and sexual assault aren’t traditionally complementing topics broached in literature, but Daviau skillfully combines them to create both a world in which a 21st century Chicago landlord can engage in a heated affair with Freddie Mercury, and a woman can revisit the emotional trauma of a parent’s death.

“Life. Life is what gives this story balance,” Daviau said, for from her perspective, life is just as strange and inexplicable as the subjects she addresses in her book.

And thus, the astrophysicist and retired guitarist enter into a relationship that spans thousands of years and quite literally transverses the universe, moving from a time when language is in its early stages of development to the apocalypse.

For her debut novel, Daviau has certainly made a point to stand out. She champions feminism and science and esoteric indie rock bands over the course of 250 pages. “Every Anxious Wave” isn’t simply a romance. And it isn’t just a tribute to strong women. It is a science fiction, rock ‘n’ roll punk opera with a twist of fate written in the stars of 980 Mannahatta.

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