Time and Again, by Jack Finney

What is time? Is it an idea? A unit of measurement? Could it also be a destination? A place that continues to exist once it has passed? Author Jack Finney proposes exactly that in Time and Again. Illustrator Simon Morley is approached one afternoon by a stranger looking to recruit him for a top-secret government project. There is an air of mystery about the stranger and the project right from the beginning . . . followed by a feeling of utter disbelief. As Simon learns more and more, he ultimately agrees to join the project and attempt to step back into the winter of New York City 1882.

Aside from the question of if Simon will actually be able to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat is the mystery that propels him to suggest a specific date and time to the project administration. Can he see the exact moment when a stranger in 1882 drops a letter in the post that continued to cause reverberations in the present for Simon’s girlfriend?

There is much that I enjoyed about Time and Again. The story and plot itself were intriguing and engrossing right from the first page and chapter. The addition of illustrations made the story come to life even more vividly than the words on the page alone. Personally, I found the extreme amount of detail of 1882 New York City, including the type of stone used to construct the buildings and which direction the characters turned, distracting to the point of pulling me from the story and suspending my disbelief. However, I admit that, if I were more familiar with New York City and its monumental streets, neighborhoods, and buildings, I think those details would richly enhance the story.

Regardless, I enjoyed Time and Again. It has elements of science fiction, action, mystery, and even a touch of romance. A great book to pull our attention away from the troubles of the moment!

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