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Time Won't Let Me: A Novel Paperback – November 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060797096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060797096
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,460,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Author of the Sports Illustrated column "The Show" and a former Late Show with David Letterman writer, Scheft (The Ringer) returns to fiction with a laugh-out-loud story of aging rock stars reclaiming their musical ids. After their whimsical anthems took their classmate at Chase Academy by storm in the late '60s, the Truants, a Kinks-style garage band, made a record, disbanded and faded into musical oblivion, becoming an asterisk on the long list of good-but-not-great garage bands. Fast-forward three decades when a German record collector shells out $10,000 for a rare copy of their album, and, to everyone's surprise, their five minutes of fame seem poised for extension. A potential gig at their 30th high school reunion gives Scheft a welcome opportunity to make fun of their lives: John, a dermatologist repulsed by strangers' requests to "look at this" or that skin ailment; Richie, a sleazy divorce lawyer who beds his clients; gay Latin (the language) enthusiast Brian; uxorious drummer Tim; and Jerry, who's addicted to gambling and the sugar substitute Equal. Add a hapless sibling eager to reunite the gang, an expletive-driven record connoisseur, an anatomically blessed baker, a knitted plot of dark humor and daffy scenarios, and a unique jocular style, and this sophomore novel hits all the right notes. (Dec. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Like the music of the early '60s garage bands it pays homage to, this novel is often sloppy and off rhythm but still manages to sail through on pure attitude. Five misfits at an elite New England prep school form a rock 'n' roll band called the Truants through which they find a small moment of glory. Thirty years later, the vanity CD they cut nets $10,000 on eBay. Plans are put in motion to reunite for their thirtieth high-school reunion, but the former band members are in various stages of disarray. Two are in long-term marriages that are more suffocating than sustaining, one guitarist is now a sleazy divorce attorney, the keyboard player is a wayward academic, and the bass player has traded in his taste for alcohol for an addiction to Equal and a bad gambling habit. Although the novel never delivers on the promise of its near-perfect setup, which is dissipated by too many characters and subplots, it is a fun read that will resonate with its target Boomer audience. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Novelist, columnist, television writer. During the last two decades, Bill Scheft has established himself as a versatile, singular and influential comedic voice.

His last novel, EVERYTHING HURTS (Simon and Schuster, 2009), is now being made into a film starring Paul Rudd.

In EVERYTHING HURTS, self-proclaimed "self-help fraud" Phil Camp, who accidentally achieved international acclaim writing under the pseudonym Marty Fleck, tries to seek relief from his unexplained chronic pain through the aid of another self-help guru, Dr. Samuel Abrun. Publishers Weekly raves: "Scheft scewers physical and emotional pain with a mercilessly comic touch and a bit of poignancy." And Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo marvels, "How rare it is for a novel to be both hilarious and profoundly moving."

Scheft's critically acclaimed first novel, THE RINGER, the story of a 35-year-old hired gun softball player whose life changes when he has to take care of his infirm sportswriter uncle, was optioned for film by United Artists, for whom he wrote the screen adaptation. His second novel, TIME WON'T LET ME, chronicled the chaotic resurrection of the prep school garage band The Truants, whose members try to reunite 30 years after learning the album they recorded in 1967 is worth $10,000. TIME WON'T LET ME was a finalist for the 2006 Thurber Prize for American Humor, the nation's highest honor for literary humor. (Three years ago, fiction met reality, as Scheft started his own garage band, The Truants, who play regularly in Manhattan.)

In addition to his long-form fiction, Scheft was widely known for his weekly humor column, "The Show," which appeared in Sports Illustrated for three years. A collection of his columns, THE BEST OF THE SHOW, was published in 2005.

After twelve years touring as a stand-up comedian, Scheft was hired as a monologue writer for Late Night with David Letterman in 1991. He was with the program for its last two years at NBC, then moved over to CBS in August, 1993 to work on Late Show with David Letterman. During his 20 years with Letterman has been nominated for 15 Emmys. Which, ah, means he's never won.

Scheft has contributed humor essays and short pieces to the New Yorker, New York Times, Esquire, TV Guide, George, Talk, Slate, Modern Humorist, the collections Mirth of a Nation, 101 Damnations, May Contain Nuts, Howl, The Enlightened Bracketologist, the Final Four of Everything and a few other places that may or may not exist anymore. For the last five years, he has been a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review.

The nephew of legendary golf writer Herbert Warren Wind, Scheft recently edited a collection of his uncle's pieces on the Masters, AMERICA'S GIFT TO GOLF: Herbert Warren Wind on The Masters (The American Golfer, 2011)

A 1979 graduate of Harvard College, where he majored in Latin because he "thought the church was going to come back," Scheft began his professional career as a sportswriter for the Albany Times-Union before he came to the realization, "Hey, what the hell am I doing in Albany?" He moved to New York City in December, 1980.

He still lives in Manhattan with his wife, comedian Adrianne Tolsch,and the voices in his head.

Customer Reviews

I was chuckling and laughing constantly as I enjoyed this book.
Kevin M. Holmgren
This is a book which I will let my friends borrow as long as they purchase his other book and let me read it when they are finished with it.
Jester Jim
You'll understand why the Beatles and the Eagles had to break up after reading this book.
Tim Taylor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lover of Great Fiction on January 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was a huge fan of Scheft's first novel, The Ringer, but I'm a bigger fan of his latest work, Time Won't Let Me -- a dark comedy of a forgotten '60s prep school rock group (the Truants) reuniting after their vanity album becomes a collectors' item. The author is a hilarious storyteller with passages that make you want to grab the nearest person and read aloud. Nowadays so much gets hyped as "laugh-out-loud funny," but Scheft's books deliver.

Critics and fans have sung the praises of Scheft's comedic skills, but few have acknowledged his singular literary talents. Nobody writes like his guy. Nobody. He has a distinct narrative voice -- at times rich and inventive, clever and intricate; other times terse and snide, blunt and stinging. As a friend told me recently, "You'll be reading one of his sentences, taking it in on one level, and then all of a sudden you discover another level of meaning, another level of nuance." The well crafted prose unites all the elements, and in his latest work, that's an amazing feat with the multiple characters and multiple plots (a bold decision for his second novel).

Populating his story with real characters -- famed musicians Peter Wolf (J. Geils Band), guitar virtuoso Les Paul, legendary rocker Barry Tashian -- and a myriad of rock/pop culture references, Scheft lends authenticity to his tale. Starting with chapter one, Scheft makes the reader feel like you're eavesdropping on history, a talent reminiscent of Tom Wolfe. A dozen pages into the book and you're singing along with the Truant's big hit, "Get Psyched." This is a hard book to put down, because you are always dying to find out what happens next on this wild, Carl Hiaasen-like ride.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on January 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Bill Scheft's sudden assault on the memory and senses in the opening chapter will have anyone who has ever been in a band during their school years equally laughing and cringing.

The story starts in 1967 as the garage band, The Truants, are the toast of Chase Academy, and the five members decide to record a vanity album. Several decades later, they all plan to reunite after being told that their album is now changing hands among collectors for a sum of $20,000 a time.

The 30-year school reunion is fast approaching. With the lure of a nostalgic gig, and perhaps the chance of re-recording their vinyl triumph with the bonus of reaping the financial rewards, as well as giving them all a much-needed ego-boost, they plan to reunite.

As you get further into the book, you also get further in to the band members' lives, and what makes them tick, and to a lesser extent, how they've found themselves where they are.

All this is accompanied by an insightful wit that only first-hand observation can lend a story.

This book is like a Dick Dale track, the notes (or rather words) rebounding inside your mind like a musical machine gun, with the undeniable kinetic energy of a good sixties track.

This is Scheft's second book, but the first I've read. I'll be looking out for his first, and hopefully that'll keep me happy until his third is published.

Armchair Interviews says: This book hits the right note.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Simon on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Those familiar with the Bill Scheft's previous work (writing jokes for David Letterman and Sports Illustrated) won't be surprised to find themselves smiling and laughing as they read "Time Won't Let Me". But even those who enjoyed the author's first novel ("The Ringer") are likely be pleasantly surprised at the number and depth of the characters he's created this time around.

The five Truants (a mid-1960's prep school band) begin the book considerably older, but little (if any) wiser then they were as teen-agers, unable to connect successfully with their respective families, or one another, and (for the most part) unable to afford the toys generally prescribed for midlife crisis. Thrown together in the pursuit of what may be an illusion as their 30th Reunion approaches, they and those around them manage to find something of even greater value.
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By drgeyer on July 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Great story. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. And I hadn't thought about that song for a long time, I became obsessed with getting a copy of that song "Time won't let me" (which I finally got). Thanks for the trip back in time.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jester Jim on April 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I first heard about the Author on the "Bob & Tom Show" and based on his interview I purchased the book. I found it to be well written and very funny at times. This is a book which I will let my friends borrow as long as they purchase his other book and let me read it when they are finished with it. (Hey I am frugal).

Do yourself a favor and buy this book. The author would like to see this made into a movie so I hope Hollywood will do it justice.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim Taylor on June 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In his latest novel, Bill Scheft (the human joke writing machine who brought you The Best of the Show and David Letterman's monologue for many years) manages to outdo himself.

Time Won't Let Me chronicles the escapades of the former members of The Truants. As a high school band who released 500 copies of one album, their 15 minutes of fame is clearly over. But when they find our their album went for $10,000 on eBay, they're coaxed into reuniting for a big score and a bigger show at their high school reunion. One small problem -- they can't stand each other.

The characterizations are compelling, memorable and you'll recognize the personalities from the band in your own life. You'll understand why the Beatles and the Eagles had to break up after reading this book. Just thinking about the character Pressure Chief still makes me laugh out loud. Read this book and you'll never look at Equal the same way again. If you don't enjoy this book, you need to find a tall, tall building.

If you've ever been in a band, if you've ever known someone in a band, or if you've ever listened to a band, you owe it to yourself to get this book. You won't be able to put it down. Bill's writing is relentlessly great, funny and entertaining.

Now enjoy The Lemon Pipers.
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