Abria Mattina's Reviews > The Time Keeper

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
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's review
Aug 31, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: review-2012, kindle, arc
Read from August 30 to 31, 2012

I was excited to read The Time Keeper, Mitch Albom’s latest novel, because I’ve enjoyed his previous novels. It’s a quirky book, based on the life of the man who became Father Time — the first man to mark the passage of time. I’d never thought of time as a “discovery” before. I knew, of course, that there had been a time before proper tracking. Cavemen certainly didn’t have clocks. But I didn’t realize how much we rely on marking time now, and I hadn’t given any thought to how people viewed their days, their lives, when something as basic as the days and seasons went unmeasured. No wonder people prayed to their gods for the return of summer, the sun, etc. They had no notion of patterns to predict its return.

As with all of Albom’s work, he tends to narrate above the story, rarely descending into the emotional, visceral guts of the characters’ experience. At times The Time Keeper reads like a gloss, and though there are moments of great feeling and sympathy, these are broken up by sections that alienate the reader with a cool, almost flippant style of writing.

It begins with Dor, the man who first measured time, and his family living in the shadow of the Tower of Babel. The book ends with two other lost souls finding their way home: Sarah Lemon, nerdy girl in the midst of her first (unrequited) love, and Victor Delamonte, a wealthy man at the end of his very successful life. Each of these characters has a very different relationship with time, and it is up to Dor to show them the value of their days. In teaching them, Dor too learns what it means to value time. He measured it, but it is only at the end of the novel that he understands what it is truly worth.

The Time Keeper is a thought-provoking read, and short enough to be consumed in a day. It’s a great conversation starter, good for book clubs, and will make you think long after you’ve finished reading.

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