Albom’s new fable more popcorn than spiritual feast
Albom’s latest fable, “The Time Keeper,” features interesting characters and taut, lyrical writing. In both style and substance, the novel parallels the work of Paulo Coelho. However, the story is like being immersed in a fairy tale with no witches or ogres. Time itself is the antagonist, but not a very potent one.
Story: In Mitch Albom’s newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time. He returns to our world–now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began–and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so. (From amazon.com)
Spiritual/metaphysical content: Low. The book contains simple snippets of insight destined to become “quotable quotes” about the nature of Time. For instance, as man begins to count days, then hours, then minutes, “the counting consumes him, and the wonder of the world he has been given is lost.”
My take: Mitch Albom’s latest spiritual fable examines Time: how it began, who set it in motion and why, and how the repercussions play out upon the rest of humanity. The slim volume tries to answer the questions, “What is the meaning of time,” and “Why does God limit it?” However, the answers are simplistic and don’t add much insight to the body of metaphysical fiction that addresses the human experience of time. In fact, Ferney by James Long (a reincarnation novel I reviewed last year) presents a brief history of time, so to speak, that does a much better job of analyzing this difficult subject.
However, Albom does throw in some unexpected turns and solid character development, a flare for illustrating human connections, and a pleasant writing style. One passage reflects the tone of the story: “If one were recording history, one might write that at the moment man invented the world’s first clock, his wife was alone, softly crying, while he was consumed by the count.” The novel strives to be both poetic and prophetic, but it’s more popcorn snack than spiritual feast. The Time Keeper is a fast and interesting read, but there’s not much here for the seasoned spiritual seeker.
The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom
Hardcover, 224 pages
Buy at Amazon