Nothing routine about Time and Time Again

dustjacket of Time and TIme Again

Time and Time Again is primarily character study, but a superbly plotted one, and James Hilton’s totally unpredictable ending is entirely plausible.

Charles Anderson, 52, is a British career diplomat. To date, his public life has been respectably dull aside intermittent painful episodes resulting from his father’s descent into dementia.

Charles bears the knowledge that his friends call him “Stuffy” with a mingled pride and humility. In his affectionate tolerance of his father, he demonstrates the integrity that inspires the respect of both friend and foe.

Charles is assisting in some tricky negotiations with the Russians at a Paris conference when, to celebrate Gerald’s 17th birthday, he asks his son to join him. Since Gerald was sent to America after his mother was killed in the blitz, Charles has seen little of his son. Charles hopes the dinner will begin a relationship that will flourish when he retires.

When Gerald hurries away from the dinner, Charles follows. He walks in on the boy with a woman in an American-style soda fountain.

While he’s trying to cover his embarrassment occasioned as much by the American cuisine as the assignation, Charles is further embarrassed by the appearance of his adversary from the conference, the Russian negotiator Palan.

This is an unexpectedly good novel that can be read time and time again.

Time and Time Again
By James Hilton
Little, Brown, 1953
306 pages
1953 bestseller #8
My grade B+

© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni