Hector Finds Time (Hector's Journeys) by Francois Lelord

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Hector Finds Time (Hector's Journeys) by Francois Lelord

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: You should find time to read this revealing novel about man's approach to time, even if it's not the best in the series of educational fiction.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Gallic Books
ISBN: 978-1906040895

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Meet, if you haven't already, Hector the psychiatrist. He's like a champagne cork, and when something prays on his mind a lot POP he's off on a global trip to set things right. And, like a champagne cork let off in a posh place, he'll likely crash through a chandelier of scintillating, interesting little points, scattering them left, right and centre, and creating a pretty, if random, pattern on the book page. This time it is, er, time. From patients worried they've none left, to those who want to grow up faster, and those putting anti-ageing cream on crows'-feet. What is the best approach to spending, passing and perhaps not worrying about, time?

After very similar books about happiness first, and love last time around, you might not think time holds such opportunity for a fascinating novel. And you might be right. Certainly the knowledge and whimsy of the author come across yet again, and the cork's ricochets allow for Hector to go all over the shop and meet all kinds of people, all with pertinent facts, opinions or details about how mankind and his philosophers have considered time. But perhaps there is a case that the subject is too elusive, the matter a little less important than in the prequels, and that the ultimate lesson is a little obvious.

Still, this is an intriguing read. From the scientist using a telescope as a time machine, seeing the past of the universe (and did time exist before the Big Bang?), to the fortune-teller, to the elderly not at all worried about ageing further, the cast of characters is fun throughout.

So too is Lelord's usual flippancy. I like it muchly when he surprises us with his humour, such as the joke about bird flu. Elsewhen it once again seems a little peculiar. Why disguise Hector's country as France, and therefore England as a country not far from Hector's which still had a Queen? Why pretend we don't know we're in Hong Kong, or that Hector is a Buddhist?

But there are a lot of stylistic quirks here, with the narrator breaking the fourth wall, asking us to guess ahead, referring to itself in a plural form. You might not enjoy them as I and others do. But you do find yourself learning a lot from these books. Here it's awkward to remember which philosopher is being referred to by which moustache style he wore, but with Hector's hypothetical exercises to set aside and leave for a rainy day, and in the encounters he is forced to have before he settles on the dancefloor as people drink their health around him, there is an awful lot to think about.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

For those interested in the science of time travel, A Teaspoon and an Open Mind by Michael White looks at it with a Doctor Who hook. Driving with Plato: The Meaning of Life's Milestones by Robert Rowland Smith is highly recommended for the way we look at the more major instances of life many of us share.

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Buy Hector Finds Time (Hector's Journeys) by Francois Lelord at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hector Finds Time (Hector's Journeys) by Francois Lelord at Amazon.com.


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