Title: The Time Keeper
Author: Mitch Albom
“Man alone measures time.
Man alone chimes the hour.
And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralysing fear that no other creature endures.
A fear of time running out.”
This is probably the most obvious quote from the book, and one a lot of people may have heard before, but it’s one that I find very true and profound. I’ve never really thought about ‘time’ before, well certainly not in the way this book does, but while reading this it made me realise how constraining man’s subjugation to worshipping time actually is.
Albom’s fifth novel follows the story of Dor, a simple man who lived thousands of years ago, and who becomes fascinated with the concept of time. He creates instruments to measure the passing of time, but as a consequence, God banishes him to a cave to live alone and listen to the pleas and cries of mankind’s desire to alter time, and thus ‘Father Time’ is born. In the present day we are introduced to Victor, a dying man and Sarah, a lovestruck teenager. Time affects their lives differently and the book’s short chapters give brief insights into all the characters’ stories as they progress, eventually telling how each of the characters come to know one another, and change each other’s lives forever.
The reason I liked and enjoyed this book so much is because Albom takes something so mundane that we all take for granted, time, and delves into the crushing punishment on man for wanting to control it. In the entire novel, there are only actually a handful of characters, but far from damaging the book’s effect, this actual helps ensure that the story keeps its simplicity, a nice touch when talking about something so intense.
As with his previous novel ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ there is a slight supernatural feel to it, but the concepts in the novel are not completely ridiculous, in fact they are as plausible as you let them be. Albom’s writing is impeccable and sophisticated and he creates characters who evoke empathy and compassion. This read really made me think about how every aspect of life is affected, and essentially controlled by time, not only that but the depth reached by Albom makes you realise how much time your wasting, and that, yes, everyone is born with a ticking clock (we don’t live forever) but as Albom states:
“With endless time, nothing is special. With no loss or sacrifice, we can’t appreciate what we have.”