Time and Again Paperback – February 1, 1995
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"Go back to a wonderful world and have a wonderful time doing it." ― New York Times
“A cult time-traveling favorite . . . This one is pure New York fun.” -- Alice Hoffman, author of The Dovekeepers
About the Author
- ASIN : 0684801051
- Publisher : Scribner Paperback Fiction; 1st edition (February 1, 1995)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 399 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780684801056
- ISBN-13 : 978-0684801056
- Lexile measure : 1020
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #106,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Our protagonist, Si Morley, an adman in the 20th century is one of a few chosen to take part in various time travels developed very secretly under secure auspices.
For a particular reason, involving his fiancé, Si chooses to return to New York in January 1882. He's dropped off at a vacant apartment in the well-known, stately, old Dakota apartments on Central Park West. After a little practice he finds he can step out into the cold 1882 NY winter at Central Park West. His first trip is about a day. Ensuing trips are a bit longer. Si finds the year and simplicity of 1882 New York very endearing.
Here the true brilliance of this book begins. The author's research had to have been incredible. Nothing is missed in the descriptions of places and people as Si travels in the past. The descriptive nature carries right to people's expressions and details of their clothing.
Si makes a few trips back to that time. Each trip he becomes more and more involved with events and people of that era. Enter Julia. Julia quickly becomes Si's love interest, though Si must be very careful not to alter any events in the past; lest they have an effect on the future.
Si, at one point, brings Julia back to the 20th century for one day; she then returns to 1882. What to do? Invite her to spend her life in this present world? Go their separate ways? Maybe Si will choose to leave once more and spend his life with Julia in 1882 permanently? All are possibilities in this well thought out, brilliantly written time travel piece. It's unlike any time travel you may have come across previously. The pages are also peppered, here and there, with sketches of people and places of this long ago time.
If one can compare the descriptive nature of this book, it could be compared in description, love story, and time travel to King's 11/22/63.
As with any good tale, there are conflicts. The huge conflict at the center of this book is the effect on changes in the past. How will they affect the present? Can there be changes in the past that will make significant changes in the present? Are all changes in the past significant to the present? How can we tell?
Then there is an ethical conflict. Will military forces take charge of the project? How about business interests? Or will this project only be used for good (whatever that is)?
There is a romantic interest. Julia, Simons’ love interest in the past, seems to be in an abusive relationship. Can Simon rescue her? How will that affect the present? Possibly due to Julia, Simon develops a love for the past and thinks about staying there. Can that be done?
All of these complex parts make for a very entertaining story, but they are not the best part of the book. The description in very detailed minutia of daily life in New York around 1880 will appeal to lovers of New York and historians interested more in social customs. Details of how to wash and attach a collar (for men) and the various layers of clothing necessary for modesty (women) are interesting. The details of building construction, the operation of firefighting teams, the history of 1880s disasters, and the familiar names of the startup ventures of some of today’s familiar businesses will keep the reader going from page to page without regard to time (pun intended).
And there are illustrations, giving the reader the sense of reality that being there is possible, at least for Simon.
This is initially set in New York in the 1980's. Time travel has recently been discovered. Something happened in NYC a century earlier that needs resolving in order to preserve the present. A man elects to go back in time, only to find that life a century earlier is kinder and gentler. Should he stay or return to this present?
Top reviews from other countries
The first 200 pages or so are relatively good (the main character is recruited by a secret government agency to travel back in time) but the rest of the book uses the eyes of the character to describe what life was like in the past. It's interesting to a point, but I eventually lost patience with it as it's a pretty long book.
It's basically light on plot and extremely heavy on details. Just about every room the main character enters is described at length and there's only so many descriptions of carpets and curtains you can stomach. I can imagine some people might get lost in the world and enjoy it, especially if you're fond of New York, but if you're looking for a plot driven, entertaining time-travel novel then I would avoid this.
Where it scores masssively is in a well written and sympathetic protagonist and in making an exciting story around events that, to a large extent, can't be changed.
It was written in 1970 and exudes a certain air of innocence absent in today's literature but is nonetheless still a fantastically written and very clever story.
One of the best time travel novels I've read.
Once the rather laborious set-up is done with, it gets very interesting, and the descriptions make the period come to life. They are a little overdone, but the photos help, and it becomes clear this is a labour of love on the part of the author. Once the plot gets underway, the usual time-travel plot logic problems occur, notably the ending, which I won't give away.
Even so, I really enjoyed this, and my thought throughout was that it cries out to be made into a large scale deluxe hardback, complete with street atlases and photographs of New York in 1882 and 1970, when the novel is set. The publishers are missing a real opportunity! I've read nothing else like it in the fantasy genre. Some of the 1970s perspective is a little dated now, and the poverty of the period is alarmingly by-passed for much of the time, but this was still a most enjoyable read.
Just loved this book couldn't put it down.
It's a must if you love time travel stories.