© Michelle Chan
In a world that consists not only of black and white, but of all shades of color, the perception and interpretation of things depends on numerous aspects. Just as how beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is the concept of “time.”
In his novel, Alan Lightman portrays time from a vast variety of angles and lightings. Amongst many things, time can be circular, mechanical, absolute, frozen, uneven, a quality, discontinuous, or perhaps even nonexistent. By describing time through a number of compressed stories, Lightman gives the reader an idea of how time, in relation to one’s life, may be viewed differently depending on the individual. While different life lessons are tucked away in each story, the importance of truly being able to live in the present is reiterated at various points in the novel. Lightman’s descriptions of time implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, apply to the life cycles of individuals and families.
Lightman discussed time in such a manner that not only valuable life lessons could be learned, but where lessons regarding individual and family life cycles could be derived. Lightman’s novel was engaging, thought-provoking, eye-opening, and nothing short of amazing.