“As mankind grew obsessed with its hours, the sorrow of lost time became a permanent hole in the human heart. People fretted over missed chances, over inefficient days; they worried constantly about how long they would live because counting life’s moments had led, inevitably, to counting them down.”
‘Love’ is the four letter word that people always fear, but more often than always people fear Time.
The first sight of the introduction of a book to any reader is seldom forgotten. The loud hammering of hailstones on the green tinned roof of the bookstore back home is the mental picture that comes to my mind whenever I hold the book in my hand. A mid-autumn read of a boring year, ‘The Time Keeper’ was my first paperback by Mitch Albom.
“Man plans and God laughs”
The inspiration behind ‘The Time Keeper’ can be identified as the time when both of Mitch Albom’s parents had suffered a stroke and were rendered wheelchair-bound. All of the plans for their later years and how they envisioned spending time had blown away like sand. Mitch began contemplating about how ‘time’ means different things to different people, how some people crave for more time and how some people wish it passed quickly.
Our life as humans is always at a constant measure of time. Every morning we wake up and the first thing we do is take a quick glance at our bedside clock or strain our eyes to check the hour on our phone screens, but what if we had never learned the art of measuring time? What if the invention of the sundial and the hour candle were all a blank page in human history? Would the absence of time create utter chaos or just lasting peace? A rather curious mind Dor, the central character has an ambitious wish to be the first man to measure time since childhood. He marries his friend Alli and shares a very romantic and thoughtful relationship with her, however, his priorities are very different and he continues working rather selfishly for his personal goals then fulfilling his duty as a family man.
Father Time, banished to a cave for six thousand years only because he committed the unforgiving crime of inventing time sits all day alone listening to the prayers of everyone who ever wished for more time. He neither eats nor sleeps but that’s okay because time has lost its aging effect on him. Sitting in that lonely cave listening to the prayers of voices assumed unheard he longs to go back to his family and to do so he must help two voices out of the millions to realize the value of the time they have before they run out.
One of the voice is that of Victor Delamonte, a wealthy aging businessman who believes in getting anything he desires for. Victor, diagnosed with Cancer decides to cheat death by means of cryogenic freezing. The other voice is that of Sarah Lemon, a high school senior who starts developing an infatuation over a boy but ends up being humiliated by him. Lost and distressed, she decides to take her own life.
“The Time Keeper” is a fairly small read, full of twists and clever conceit. Mitch Albom juggles between multiple timelines, giving the readers an enthralling experience by providing diverse perspectives reaching a single goal, “the true meaning of time”. The message interwoven into a delighting story teaches us to accept the uncertainty of time and to make the best use of the hours in hand.