As a college student living in New Jersey back in the 1970s, I visited New York City regularly. But I only knew the city in the context of a guy in his teens driving in to see a friend or a show. That is, until I began reading TIME AND AGAIN. Jack Finney’s evocative and unforgettable portrait of late nineteenth century New York was so vivid that to this day I cannot pass the Dakota or bike down Central Park West without a clear memory of Si Morley’s first brief trip back in time as he effortlessly left the present for the past. Whenever my partner and I walk through Madison Park I cannot help wondering where that fragment of the yet-to-be assembled Statue of Liberty disappeared to!
TIME AND AGAIN made me realize how much the past informs our present. The city’s beautiful old buildings, many still as vital today as they were more than a hundred years ago, tell us a lot about the time in which they were built. The worn but solid bluestone sidewalks still carry us along to our destinations. If only they could talk, what tales they would tell. No matter where I travel, now I look at things in a different way. I love feeling a link with the past. And I have Jack Finney to thank for making me aware of that wonderful connection.
For anyone who loves history and books like DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, TIME AND AGAIN should be next on your list. And if you already read it way back when, it’s time to discover it again.