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Father Time and the hourglass

The time keeper speaks of what is most desired by the human race, time.


By Nouran Maamoun

Father Time; the man who first attempted to count, the first human to ever attempt measuring time, a curse from which he suffered for an eternity.

Mitch Albom, the famous widely celebrated writer and novelist who is well known for his bestselling books “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, introduced another extremely unique story,” The Time Keeper”.

The time keeper speaks of what is most desired by the human race, time.  In our modern times, time is the most valued, most sacred and most scarce treasure, and people have spent years developing methods of measuring time. However, it was not always like that. At some point at the dawn of human history, there was a man named Dor and he was the first human being to measure time.

Father time  (JVL in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)
Father time
(JVL in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

Albom shows how the early days of this world were, and how everything changed when Dor tried to defeat the gods for more time with his beloved dead wife. Dor faced a severe punishment for the crime he committed, he will never age, he will not die, he will control time and he will have to listen to every plea for time that is ever uttered by a human, he becomes Father Time.

Then we are introduced to the two other main characters of the story, Sarah Lemon and Victor Delmonte. They are too very different people. Sarah is a teenage high school student who decides to take her own life as a result of heartbreak over a boy she liked. She wants to end her time. Meanwhile Victor is an old man, dying from cancer and he attempts to take drastic measures to prolong his life. He begs for more time.

These two people meet Father Time, who takes them on strange journeys into their past, present and future.  He shows them what has been, what is and what will be. Together the three of them come to understand the eternal reality that nothing lasts forever, no one lives beyond their time, and no one dies before their time either.

When they regain consciousness, they both are changed people; Sarah regains hope, and Victor decides to focus on what’s really important in life and to spend the final days of his life with the woman he loves, being the man he should be.

At the beginning of the book, it is hard to follow the storyline, as every page or two talks about a different character and of a different story, but when they all start to intertwine, everything makes sense and all the characters become linked.

Published in 2012, late in the professional writing career of Albom, “The Time Keeper” is a very mature story, and, although it is fiction, it is by no means ordinary fiction. The unique style of Mitch Albom is very easy to read, it is very simple yet very deep. “Mitch Albom sees the magical in the ordinary.” These were the words of Cecelia Ahern, the much celebrated author of “PS. I Love You” and many other novels.  This indeed describes most of Albom’s books, but especially  “The Time Keeper”, as it takes something very common, something that we use every moment of our lives, and gives it a whole new perspective.

Topics: time

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