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Book Review: The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom

Posted on 18 September 2012 by Alice

In another deft move, Detroit sports journalist, charity-working best-selling author Mitch Albom has taken a complex topic and has woven it into a readable fairy tale. Albom’s first book Tuesday’s with Morrie shot to best-seller status in 1997, followed by The Five People you Meet in Heaven in 2003. The first formed a series of interviews and meeting with an ex-professor of Albom’s who was facing his own mortality. The latter looked at the concept of heaven. Certainly, a challenge for any reader is to complete The Five People you Meet in Heaven without crying.

Read a Q&A with Mitch Albom here


Man alone measures time.

Man alone chimes the hour.

And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralysing fear that no other creature enduring.

A fear of time running out.

-The Time Keeper

So what if the first person to measure time were to be punished for inventing the concept of time, having time, having less time, time running out and how we all live our modern-day lives: by the clock. The Time Keeper was born out of this concept.

Father Time – the inventor of the first clock – is banished to a cave for centuries as part of his punishment for trying to measure time. In the cave he’s forced to listen to all the despairing voices on earth who wish, hope and ask for more or less time for themselves. The only way Father Time can repair the damage he’s done with his invention is to teach two earthly people the true meaning of time and its value to them.

Returning to earth and the modern-day world, Father Time sees the world he’s created: one obsessed by time. Having heard the despair in the voices of a teenage girl about to give up on life and a wealthy, ageing businessman who wants to live forever, Father Time finds them on earth and begins a journey with them. To save himself, Father Time is tasked with saving them both, ‘and stop the world to do so’.

Albom fans won’t be disappointed with his latest work. The beautifully crafted novel is poignant, thoughtful and relevant to everyone living by the clock.

Consider the word ‘time’.

We use so many phrases with it. Pass time. Waste time. Kill time. Lose time.

In good time. About time. Take your time. Save time.

A long time. Right on time. Out of time. Mind the time. Be on time. Spare time. Keep time. Stall for time.

There are as many expressions with ‘time’ as there are minmutes in a day.

But once, there was no word for it at all. Because no one was counting.

-The Time Keeper, p18.

The Time Keeper was released by Little, Brown, on September 4th, 2012.

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