This novel tells the story of two seemingly insignificant people - one who is running out of time and is desperate to extend the inevitable, another who wants nothing more than to make time go faster - as they are brought together by a man who lived thousands of years ago trying to teach them to value the time they've both been given, no matter how short or long.
'The Time Keeper' starts at the dawn of man's history with Dor and his friends Nim and Alli. As they grow older Nim seeks power and tries to control the people, Dor on the other hand seems perfectly content to build a life with Alli. Until he gets consumed by tracking time. He is the first human to make devices to count time, and as he predicts when the sun and moon come and go he even starts on the first calendar.
But as Alli falls ill, Dor wants to not only count time, but also control it. Desperate to gain more time with his wife Dor runs up a tower, which Nim's slaves built all the way to heaven, in the hopes that the gods can help save Alli. Instead he ends up in a cave as Father Time and as thousands of years pass he hears the people's voices pleading for more or less time, never happy with the speed at which time passes for them.
Sarah Lemon is a high school student, smarter than most of her peers and an outcast. But when a popular guy in her school suddenly pays attention to her she keeps wishing for time to go quicker so she can see him again.
Victor Delamonte is the fourteenth richest man in the world and while he's in his mid-eighties he's still working as the head of his company. Suffering from cancer his time is quickly running out and using the wealth at his disposal Victor is seeking a way to stop time and extend his life.
Dor observes both Sarah and Victor and as their stories escalate he comes into their lives to try and show them those things about time he didn't know himself when he was still walking the earth.
As a reader it takes a few chapters to truly get engrossed by the novel. The writing is quite abrupt, the various storylines chopped up and intertwining even though they do not belong together yet. However, the characters gradually start to come more alive, or perhaps it was a case of me getting used to the writing style, as their stories come together.
Other than the story being told in short chunks, making it hard for the reader to connect to the characters, the writing is beautiful. Some of the phrases that particularly stood out to me were:
"It is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be."
"There is a reason God limits our days."
"To make each one precious."
In an age where everything is measured by time and we are absolutely controlled by it, often rushing from one place to the next because a watch or calendar or clock says we should, it's fascinating to stand still by the principle of time; how and where it started, why we're so consumed by it now and how important it truly is in the grand scheme of things.
'The Time Keeper' is a novel that makes you think, that's for sure.