Thoughts on Jack Finney’s Novel Time and Again

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Time and AgainA novel by Jack FinneyDespite the fact Time and Again is fictional, it makes one wistful, thinking of how incredible it would be to be in Simon Morley’s place. To be able to see the world exactly as if a day had not passed in the time of 1882, to converse, to touch, to just breathe the air of the past – is merely dreaming.Author Jack Finney describes how such a thing would come to pass – travelling back in time – and for a moment or more, I could believe every word. However far-fetched or seemingly plausible the novel was, it was told brilliantly, and the sketches helped one immerse themselves more and more into the tale. The novel had the similar effect of Dan Brown’s novels (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Deception Point) with meticulous research and facts, coupled with smart and abstract characters, and a theory or two, making for a convincing novel. But unlike Dan Brown’s novels, told with much suspense, heroism, and a distinctive hard-edged writing style, Time and Again was spun enthrallingly, but with a softer side, in the way character Simon Morley addressed the reader, almost in a conversational way.

At some point in the story, most major characters had a moment where I felt as if it was truly summing up the character or their feelings, a moment where I truly felt as if I was seeing a depth in the character that was unknown before. Such as Jake Pickering, Julia Huff’s supposed husband-to-be, and his very unanticipated tattooing of JULIA across his chest – in defiance of Simon’s interference and his assertion of ‘owning’ Julia and her love, a very desperate act by a desperate man. Julia herself had many of these defining moments, but what I felt to be the most striking was her initial reaction the present as Simon took her back into his time. Julia’s alien-like wonder at such things as television, and the shortness the skirt Simon bought for her (knee-high). But it is how easily Julia adjusts to the newness all around her, and her innocence and horror at the violence we tolerate that truly made it a very prominent scene. It was a moment to reflect upon how we (North America especially) so easily accept the violence around us. As for Simon, he had many moments with much depth as well, but I found myself feeling very compassionate towards him when he returned back to 1882 for around the third or fourth time.