A SHORTCUT IN TIME

Charles Dickinson, Author . Forge $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0579-4

Author of such imaginative novels as Waltz in Marathon and Crows, Dickinson is a splendid writer who has yet to reach the audience he deserves. After a decade's hiatus, he edges close to sci-fi in this psychologically rich and engrossing novel about time travel. Reminiscent of Jack Finney's Time and Again, but with its own distinctive flair, the story begins with a subtle, clever twist on time-travel tropes. The hero, Josh Winkler, discovers he has the ability to move just 15 minutes backward in time. Unlike previous fictional chrononauts, he soon has his whole small town of Euclid, Ill., talking about his exploit, some believing, most not. Josh is a hopeful if unsuccessful artist. His wife, Flo, is a hard-working, family-supporting pediatrician, and their daughter, Penny, is a typical teenager. After Josh's unexpected temporal adventures, his life begin to unravel. He eventually manages to go back 80 years and encounters a mysterious 15-year-old girl, Constance Morceau, herself an unsuspecting traveler from 1908, whose plight is poignant. The narrative tension increases dramatically as her apparently hopeless situation becomes clearer. The reader shares Josh's highs and lows in a time-twisting game of blind man's buff over which he has little control. Dickinson's trick is intertwining stories, for Josh's own daughter is also transported back three generations, and he learns she will die in the influenza epidemic after WWI unless he can get her out. The conclusion to this intricate and sophisticated time paradox puzzle is unexpected yet logical. This is a low-key gem. (Jan.)

Forecast:Dickinson has a chance to attract a larger readership with this new book. His previous novel, The Widow's Adventures, has been optioned by TriStar, with Angela Lansbury and Shirley MacLaine slated to star.

Reviewed on: 11/18/2002
Release date: 01/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7653-0639-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4299-4305-5
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