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Time and Time Again

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By the author of Lost Horizon; a story of a modest 20th century hero of his times and of his story. Bright with wit and incident by a master storyteller, it mounts to a startling , but credible climax.


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By the author of Lost Horizon; a story of a modest 20th century hero of his times and of his story. Bright with wit and incident by a master storyteller, it mounts to a startling , but credible climax.

30 review for Time and Time Again

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    Time and Time Again was James Hilton's last novel. It was published the year before he died. It covers the rather ordinary life of a rather ordinary man. It's very much like Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Told in flashbacks, a diplomat outlines the big events in his life. They are basically a series of humiliations and disappointments. The section that sticks with me most is the first one where as a young college student he meets the woman of his dreams. She is reading a book in a cafe and h Time and Time Again was James Hilton's last novel. It was published the year before he died. It covers the rather ordinary life of a rather ordinary man. It's very much like Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Told in flashbacks, a diplomat outlines the big events in his life. They are basically a series of humiliations and disappointments. The section that sticks with me most is the first one where as a young college student he meets the woman of his dreams. She is reading a book in a cafe and he's forced to sit with her for a lack of seating on that busy day. They get to talking and find that they enjoy each others company. They decide to marry except parents intervene. I have to admit that the middle of the novel is a bit of a blur in my memory. It's a bit like "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin. Now in the both the novel and the song, I feel that the sons have ended up better than their fathers.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    This was Hilton's final novel, and I found it to be a very reflective one, touching as it does on things from previous novels - The protagonist's name is "Charles" (as it was in RANDOM HARVEST) A dentist named "Mallinson" is mentioned - "Mallinson" was a character's name in LOST HORIZON The school Charles Anderson attends is Brookfield, during the time of the Great War when "Mr. Chips" is Acting Headmaster. There's even a brief mention that Charles's wife may have lost her memory, another nod to RAN This was Hilton's final novel, and I found it to be a very reflective one, touching as it does on things from previous novels - The protagonist's name is "Charles" (as it was in RANDOM HARVEST) A dentist named "Mallinson" is mentioned - "Mallinson" was a character's name in LOST HORIZON The school Charles Anderson attends is Brookfield, during the time of the Great War when "Mr. Chips" is Acting Headmaster. There's even a brief mention that Charles's wife may have lost her memory, another nod to RANDOM HARVEST. This is, as others have mentioned, a rather slight novel, but as much of Hilton's fiction does, it expresses his concern for the world and the direction in which it is going. And as always, his storytelling skills are first-rate.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I considered not finishing this because about a third of the way through I felt bad for the main character and thought that if it was a book all about the little humiliations and problems in his life I wouldn't enjoy it. I am glad that I continued it though. It was an interesting description of the main character's past and present and relationships and the second half caught me up to the point I wanted the book to continue at the end. I considered not finishing this because about a third of the way through I felt bad for the main character and thought that if it was a book all about the little humiliations and problems in his life I wouldn't enjoy it. I am glad that I continued it though. It was an interesting description of the main character's past and present and relationships and the second half caught me up to the point I wanted the book to continue at the end.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maritza Campos

    It's like a novel about nothing, but well narrated. Weird book. It's like a novel about nothing, but well narrated. Weird book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    There is something addictive about Hilton's writing. He is a brilliant storyteller. He makes even an average tale impossible to put down. Not as good as Random Harvest but still thoroughly enjoyable. There is something addictive about Hilton's writing. He is a brilliant storyteller. He makes even an average tale impossible to put down. Not as good as Random Harvest but still thoroughly enjoyable.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    My review/What I learned from this book?? I can't say I really learned anything from this book. It wasn't life changing, but it wasn't unreadable by any means. Probably one of the easiest reads I've read, but with that also comes the fact that I probably won't remember what happened in this book in three months. Its pretty much just a story of an English diplomat in the time in and around WWI, WWII, and after. I can't even remember the guy's name. I seem to remember the character's houses and t My review/What I learned from this book?? I can't say I really learned anything from this book. It wasn't life changing, but it wasn't unreadable by any means. Probably one of the easiest reads I've read, but with that also comes the fact that I probably won't remember what happened in this book in three months. Its pretty much just a story of an English diplomat in the time in and around WWI, WWII, and after. I can't even remember the guy's name. I seem to remember the character's houses and the places better then the characters, if thats me or Mr. Hilton's writing I don't know. The story skips around between the main character's past and the present, but the skipping is very easily understood. Overall its a good waste of your time to see the ups and downs of the diplomat's life. It won't blow your mind (but it might, who knows), but its a good thing to read in the fold up third row of the family car with your feet propped up on your little brother's luggage whilst you hurtle through the blizzard, I'll guarantee you that you don't even notice the blizzard.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debi

    By James Hilton Set in the years just as WWI was ending to the advent of WWII, it is the story of an English diplomat that moves between the past and present. The main character is likable and develops well. The other characters; girlfriend, father, mother, wife, and son are not fully developed though they all add to the development of the main character. It is a glimpse of life in England and the changes that feel bewildering to a caught in the middle generation. A very satisfying read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    JoLynn

    A middle-aged British diplomat reminisces about his life from his college days at Cambridge through his early fifties. The protagonist, Charles Anderson, leads us through World War I, first love, and the progression of his diplomatic career. Tragedy during World War II almost ends his career. Will Charles persevere? A continuous thread throughout the novel is Charles' turbulent relationship with his distant and difficult father. A leisurely story, well told. A middle-aged British diplomat reminisces about his life from his college days at Cambridge through his early fifties. The protagonist, Charles Anderson, leads us through World War I, first love, and the progression of his diplomatic career. Tragedy during World War II almost ends his career. Will Charles persevere? A continuous thread throughout the novel is Charles' turbulent relationship with his distant and difficult father. A leisurely story, well told.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    A slick, well-plotted story...Hilton skillfully manipulates chronology...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Brooke

    It has to be admitted that Hilton was, at least a little, repeating himself here, writing a novel with similarities to his successful ‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips.’ It’s the story of a seemingly simple life with its ups and downs, triumphs and failures, its influences on the lives of others. That’s not in any way a bad thing, just something to be noted. This one is a good bit longer, too. I very much like the author’s prose style. I’d put it up there with Waugh (but, of course, without his wit). It is pai It has to be admitted that Hilton was, at least a little, repeating himself here, writing a novel with similarities to his successful ‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips.’ It’s the story of a seemingly simple life with its ups and downs, triumphs and failures, its influences on the lives of others. That’s not in any way a bad thing, just something to be noted. This one is a good bit longer, too. I very much like the author’s prose style. I’d put it up there with Waugh (but, of course, without his wit). It is paired with a certain sentimentality which I do not like as much. I might even say it is a bit shallow at times. At other times, it does seem to offer actual insight into our main protagonist. However, we learn pretty much all we need to know about him in a few chapters and the rest of the book essentially rehashes this. Until it strolls on to a more or less 'feel-good' conclusion. There is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps it does seem a little contrived. 'Time and Time Again' is a decent enough book, an entertaining if rather low-key read. I give it a recommendation but not a particularly enthusiastic one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    A middle-aged British diplomat reminisces about his life from his college days at Cambridge through his early fifties. The protagonist, Charles Anderson, leads us through World War I, first love, and the progression of his diplomatic career. Tragedy during World War II almost ends his career. Will Charles persevere? A continuous thread throughout the novel is Charles' turbulent relationship with his distant and difficult father. A leisurely story, well told. A middle-aged British diplomat reminisces about his life from his college days at Cambridge through his early fifties. The protagonist, Charles Anderson, leads us through World War I, first love, and the progression of his diplomatic career. Tragedy during World War II almost ends his career. Will Charles persevere? A continuous thread throughout the novel is Charles' turbulent relationship with his distant and difficult father. A leisurely story, well told.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Davis

    It was interesting to read a book written in 1953. It felt very "proper". Since I've never read anything else by Hilton (Lost Horizons was the most famous I think), I don't know if this was his regular style of writing or if his writing was done to match the "stuffy" and proper behavior of his main character Charles. It was good, but not something I would race to recommend to anyone else. It was interesting to read a book written in 1953. It felt very "proper". Since I've never read anything else by Hilton (Lost Horizons was the most famous I think), I don't know if this was his regular style of writing or if his writing was done to match the "stuffy" and proper behavior of his main character Charles. It was good, but not something I would race to recommend to anyone else.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark Rabideau

    This is the most 'average' novel I have read by James Hilton. It is not bad, but it certainly it is not in the league of Goodbye Mr. Chips or Lost Horizon. I guess it just goes to prove that even the best writers are not always 'spectacular'. This is the most 'average' novel I have read by James Hilton. It is not bad, but it certainly it is not in the league of Goodbye Mr. Chips or Lost Horizon. I guess it just goes to prove that even the best writers are not always 'spectacular'.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gale

    “An Englishman’s Life Between World Wars” We first meet Charles Anderson in Paris (the first of four Times) as he is contemplating a ceremonial dinner with his 17-year-old son, Gerald—a deferred pleasure which he has been anticipating since the boy was sent to America (to be safe during the blitz) at the age of five. Moving slowly forward, then rushing to contemporary years in Paris, the chronological plot line catapults readers back and forth at random speeds during much of the protagonist’s l “An Englishman’s Life Between World Wars” We first meet Charles Anderson in Paris (the first of four Times) as he is contemplating a ceremonial dinner with his 17-year-old son, Gerald—a deferred pleasure which he has been anticipating since the boy was sent to America (to be safe during the blitz) at the age of five. Moving slowly forward, then rushing to contemporary years in Paris, the chronological plot line catapults readers back and forth at random speeds during much of the protagonist’s lifetime. A bit of a psychological sleeper this novel makes intermittent use of letters between characters, as well as direct dialogue, but features the private insights, secret misgivings and motivations of Charles--a modest career diplomat who is comfortable in most European capitals. Neither overly ambitious or cleverly sly at promoting his country’s private agenda this mild-mannered fellow is torn in three emotional directions: his relationship with his crusty ex-barrister father, Sir Havelock; his long-distance relationship with his somewhat Americanized son; and his love affairs with three different women. The novel opens and ends with Charles’ diplomatic grappling with a nasty chap from the Communist world. “Stuffy” Anderson (as he is called by his younger colleagues) navigates the muddy waters between the Phony War, the First and then Second World War as best he can, although Jane proves a most capable helpmeet. Most of the “action” is mental or emotional as Charles's views mature re his career, his father and his son. His hobby of amateur painting provides some release from the rigidity of verbal sparring at the Conference table-- even though he never receives a Legation of his own. We earnestly wish that his relationship with Gerald will prove more rewarding than his own with Sir Havelock. A tapestry of personal and international diplomacy--woven between threads of quiet commentary on the changing shape of the world and the nature of relationships all round, this novel will appeal to readers who enjoy the gentle pulsing of the human heart and mind. July 9, 2015

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dr.J.G.

    I wonder if this is the story I remembered for its gentle wafting of music through a tale that begins with a train accident, and a man from first class compartment who goes repeatedly into lower class compartments that are worst hit with fire, saving many people in the process, and not stopping even when he was repeatedly told to care about his own safety. Love and music wafts gently through the story of two ill fated souls that met too late, and all they had was a mutual realisation that they lo I wonder if this is the story I remembered for its gentle wafting of music through a tale that begins with a train accident, and a man from first class compartment who goes repeatedly into lower class compartments that are worst hit with fire, saving many people in the process, and not stopping even when he was repeatedly told to care about his own safety. Love and music wafts gently through the story of two ill fated souls that met too late, and all they had was a mutual realisation that they loved each other. When later I found that a piece of music I had been listening to stayed on in my head like a fragrance that I could not identify - and it turned out to be the composer mentioned in this story, even if perhaps not the exact same piece, it was not a surprise, but a confirmation - I had begun to listen to the music because of reading this amongst others and had been listening to various composers for a couple of years, and then found this music remaining with me, subconsciously. But I am only guessing that this is the title - that it was this writer, I am sure.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

    This is a good read, but not my favorite of James Hilton's books. Romance takes a back seat to career in this story. If you have read Random Harvest, you may be expecting a different ending. The ending is a surprise, even more so given that it isn't what you were expecting. This is a good read, but not my favorite of James Hilton's books. Romance takes a back seat to career in this story. If you have read Random Harvest, you may be expecting a different ending. The ending is a surprise, even more so given that it isn't what you were expecting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Apryl Anderson

    Not exactly a gripping tale, but an interesting exploration of one character, his relationships, and that particular place and time. History really does repeat itself, even if the costumes change a little.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles M.

    Story of diplomat Charles Anderson's experiences and adventures across several countries, etc. Story of diplomat Charles Anderson's experiences and adventures across several countries, etc.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    I was disappointed in this book after reading Random Harvest. The story was good, but not great, although parts of it were.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I was quite disappointed in this book. While it was a convincing portrait of an English gentleman of some charm, it just didn't seem to have much depth. I was quite disappointed in this book. While it was a convincing portrait of an English gentleman of some charm, it just didn't seem to have much depth.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  22. 5 out of 5

    Louise

  23. 4 out of 5

    Guy T. Martland

  24. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  25. 5 out of 5

    Peter Corcoran

  26. 4 out of 5

    Palmyrah

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Wheeler

  29. 4 out of 5

    CB

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jim

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