The Little Book by Selden Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time travel books can be so tricky: how is the travel approached? why is the person traveling? does it make sense? In this case, the answer is that the author managed those things well and that, coupled with writing about an interesting era and believable characters led to a five star review.
Fin de siècle Vienna, filled with Secessionist thinkers and artists, Freud and the start of the anti-Semetic movement that will lead to Hitler is one of those times and places you wish you could visit (ok, a time and place I wish I could visit!) and it has lovingly been brought to life by "the Haze", a beloved teacher at St. Gregory's school near Boston. At least two generations of boys have heard many of his thoughts and quotations from the writers, philosophers and authors he knew as a young man; generations that included Frank Standish Burden Jr and III.
Wheeler (aka III) was an unconventional child, an autodidact who was an amazing baseball pitcher and good enough musician to play both Woodstock and Altamont. He has written a book that collates the Haze's writings and sayings, and suddenly he finds himself in Vienna, 80 years earlier. One of the people he meets there is Dilly (aka Jr) - they also meet Weezie (who will become Dilly's mother), the Haze, and Burden Senior. Because this is historical fiction, Mark Twain, Klimt, Freud and Churchill make appearances.
The writing brings both timelines alive in a way I hadn't expected. One or two characters seemed so real I was surprised when they turned out to be products of the author's imagination! The reason behind the time travel (an escape from the pain of death) actually made sense; the results of their actions also made sense, something that doesn't always follow.
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