Industrial-Sized Deals Shop all Back to School Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums $5 Off Fire TV Stick Off to College Essentials Shop Popular Services gotS5 gotS5 gotS5  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Metal Gear Solid 5 Shop Now Learn more
Time's Arrow (Vintage International) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $1.82 (12%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Time's Arrow has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous ownerâ€TMs name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Time's Arrow Paperback – September 29, 1992

101 customer reviews

See all 19 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$7.14 $0.01
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

"Villa America" by Liza Klaussmann
A dazzling novel set in the French Riviera based on the real-life inspirations for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is The Night. Learn more | See related books
$13.18 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Time's Arrow + To the Lighthouse
Price for both: $22.66

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews Review

Amis attempts here to write a path into and through the inverted morality of the Nazis: how can a writer tell about something that's fundamentally unspeakable? Amis' solution is a deft literary conceit of narrative inversion. He puts two separate consciousnesses into the person of one man, ex-Nazi doctor Tod T. Friendly. One identity wakes at the moment of Friendly's death and runs backwards in time, like a movie played in reverse, (e.g., factory smokestacks scrub the air clean,) unaware of the terrible past he approaches. The "normal" consciousness runs in time's regular direction, fleeing his ignominious history.

From Library Journal

For decades, writers have been striving to comprehend the Holocaust, and while its horror remains indelible, readers may wonder if there is another way of going over this relentlessly examined ground. In this swift, incisive little book, Amis succeeds in rendering the shock of the Holocaust wholly new by traveling backward in time. At the end of his life, the German-born American doctor Tod T. Friendly suffers a paralysis from which emerges "the soul he should have had." This innocent soul follows "time's arrow" back through Tod's stay in America and his flight to Germany, finally arriving at the concentration camp where Friendly, as Odilo Unverdorben, served as a doctor of death. Trying to discover "when the world is going to make sense," the confused if patient soul watches as the doctor injures the healed, revives Jews who have been gassed, and grows closer to his estranged wife. It concludes, "We all know by now that violence creates, here on earth . . . it heals and mends." Amis's device, which at first seems merely a clever conceit, is handled so skillfully that living backwards becomes not only natural but a perfect metaphor for the Nazis' perverted logic. If he can't finally probe to the bottom of a mind that embraces atrocities, Amis has nevertheless written a thought-provoking, compelling book. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/91.
-Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 29, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679735720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679735724
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
From beginning to end, Amis has managed to sustain a wonderful conceit: the inversion of time. The idea isn't original but this execution is complete and nearly perfect. Yes, the story somewhat pays homage to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five but it is a weak parallel. Slaughterhouse-Five is a book where time is treated non-linearly and yet the narrative follows more or less the conventional marching forward. A better example really is T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone where a major character lives backwards in time. Merlin comes from the future, converges towards the age of young King Arthur and sweeps past into the past.
In Time's Arrow, the narrator from the very first words "I moved forward, out of the blackest sleep, ..." experiences time inverted. From death to birth, the narrator must learn of the past by experiencing the world - he is naive as to the events of the past - day-by-day inside Tod's body (growing younger). Tod is the Nazi war criminal whose secret life unfolds - backwards. Oddly, the narrator appears naive has he is forced to speculate on the past based only on his knowledge of the present and future. He does not know the past. And he is often wrong, just as we are in predicting the future.
Perhaps the most puzzingly aspect of the novel is the identity of the narrator. The narrator may be the protagonist or may be not ...It is ambiguous. Certainly, the narrator "rides" in the head of Tod Friendly (and his aliases) but he experiences the world mechanically like a closed circuit security camera. The narrator can only see and smell and hear what Tod sees and smells and hears. The narrator can not experience the thoughts or emotions of Tod. Strange but very rewarding. The narrator does see Tod's dreams.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Steven Reynolds on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
At the moment of Dr Tod T. Friendly's death, a consciousness is born and then witnesses the doctor's entire life - lived backwards. The voice trails the doctor through his early retirement, his last years of work and degenerating relationships, then back through his heyday as a surgeon, his life in New York, various name changes, and then back via ship to postwar Europe. At first nothing seems to make sense for the narrating consciousness: people are talking and walking backwards; relationships begin with tearful meetings and slapped faces and end with coy moments in hospital corridors; mysterious, coded letters emerge from the flames of the fireplace; and the doctor and his colleagues work passionately at making healthy people sick, or wounding them and throwing them into ambulances to be taken back onto the streets. But finally, when we follow the good doctor back to his time at Auschwitz, life begins to make sense at last. There, he and his colleagues are doing something wonderful: they are creating the Jewish race. Pulling smoke and ashes from the sky, assembling the debris into human beings, bringing them to life with gas, letting them work their way into health, then uniting them with family members and sending them off by train to flourish in the towns and cities of Europe... What at first seems like a rather trivial exercise in literary game-playing - the conceit of narrating a life lived backwards - becomes, in fact, the device which enables Amis to deliver one of the most effective and affecting condemnations of the Holocaust without writing a single word against it. By showing it in reverse - by inverting its objectives, its sequence and its consequences - Amis renders the Nazi program in all its grotesque obscenity.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
In Time's Arrow, British novelist Martin Amis begins with the death of Dr. Tod Friendly and then traces his life--backwards--into his sinister past. Though the outlandish premise of time running backwards wears thin at times, the story Amis tells is compelling enough to keep the reader interested until the very end...or beginning.
¶Make no mistake, this book is weird. Amis maintains the backwards motif scrupulously, with dialogues printed in reverse order (Amis' one concession to the reader is to render the individual sentences forward) and every event described backwards. For instance: to eat,
"You select a soiled dish, collect some scraps from the garbage, and settle down for a short wait. Various items get gulped up into my mouth, and after skillful massage with tongue and teeth I transfer them to the plate for additional sculpture with knife and fork and spoon."
¶The narrator is not Tod himself, exactly, but a sort of secondary consciousness, a spectator who is independent from Tod's thoughts but hostage inside his body. Amis never explains the peculiar identity of his narrator, who views the reverse unfolding of Tod's life as a forward-moving story.
¶Amis uses the backwards perspective to showcase his powers of description. The narrator's ingenious explanations of everyday processes reversed, like eating, are pearls of smart, funny writing. His adept usage of the gleefully oblivious narrator results in delicious irony, as in this exposition on taxis:
"This business with the yellow cabs, it sure looks like an unimprovable deal. They're always there when you need one, even in the rain or when the theaters are closing. They pay you up front, no questions asked. They always know where you're going. They're great.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Time's Arrow
This item: Time's Arrow
Price: $13.18
Ships from and sold by

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: best places to camp in texas, more or less crazy, us history textbook, quite time