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Explore meaning of time

Time’s fragility increases its worth

By Diane Makovsky

For The Free Lance–Star

“THE Time Keeper” is yet another bestseller from Mitch Albom, author of “Tuesdays With Morrie.” With imagination and wisdom, Albom creates the story of the first human to measure time.

Readers can share the author’s fantastic vision, as Father Time initially conceptualizes time and then become its prisoner. Albom strips our lives of peripheral concerns and exposes the core of existence, man’s obsession with time. As the pace of life constantly quickens, man faces the dilemma of having too much, or too little, time.

The main character, Dor, lived long ago, before history, before time. Dor was different from others; as he and his childhood friends played, his mind was focused on other things.

Dor discovers counting, that his fingers can represent other things. That sticks, rocks and bowls can be used as measurement tools. He creates the first sundial by placing a stick and a rock on the ground and noticing the movement of the shadow created by the sun’s light. Eventually he starts to measure time and become its overseer, assigned by God to be Father Time.

Initially, Dor is punished for his efforts to measure the gift of time and is banished to a cave for thousands of years. His only companions are the voices of centuries of people, all wanting more time.

At last, Dor is released to our world and given the chance to atone by teaching two people the true meaning of time. In his possession is an hourglass he can use to slow time. Using the hourglass, he nearly stops time to spend 100 years studying the history of man, to understand this strange world into which he has been transported. He searches for two specific voices, those of a man who wants more time and a young girl who wants less.

Working at a clock shop in New York City, Dor meets Victor, a terminally ill businessman in his mid-80s. When Victor utters the words “another lifetime,” Dor finds the first voice. Victor wants more time and is willing to experiment with cryonics to find it.

When Sarah enters the shop to buy an expensive watch as a gift for an uninterested boy at school, Dor finds the second voice when she says, “Make it stop.” Sarah feels she has too much time; her loneliness overwhelms her.

The author finds a voice in Dor, as he effectively conveys an unusual awareness of something most take for granted on a daily basis. Through Dor, Albom asks: “Do you understand now? With endless time, nothing is special. With no loss or sacrifice, we can’t appreciate what we have.” Readers who devote a few hours to “The Time Keeper” won’t regret it.

Diane Makovsky is a freelance reviewer in Spotsylvania County.


By Mitch Albom

(Hyperion, $24.99, 240 pp.)


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