Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Only Time Will Tell – My Review

Two things are actually quite clear from this novel -
1. Jeffrey Archer is undoubtedly the master of impersonation!! Half his novels – including Sons of Fortune, A Prisoner of Birth and this one – are based on the same Impersonation formula which has ruled Bollywood for decades!
2. This book is obviously an outcome of the immense success J K Rowling has had with Harry Potter. The idea of making a series instead of a standalone novel, the break-up of the book into different part’s of the protagonist’s life, and even the name of the hero – Harry Clifton – are an indirect ode to the fabulous Potter series.
But that does not mean Only Time Will Tell is not brilliant!
It is great to see Archer at the top of his form once again – after the forgettable Prisoner of Birth and False Impression. Only Time Will Tell has been announced as a five-part compilation, and i’m already waiting for the next instalment of Harry Clifton’s life.
In choosing the location for the story, Archer picked his own hometown – of Weston-Super-Mare, and he has absolute grasp over the region, its culture, its history and all the quirks that are so peculiar to British Life. Since the book begins at in the 1920s, there are even more of them! Archer is masterful in guiding us through the life of Harry – from when he is five years old to when he turns 20 and the book ends.
Jeffrey-Archer-Only-Time-Will-TellOnly Time will Tell is bound to be a masterpiece – and not just in scope. The story and its characters are brilliantly sculpted – like in all of Archer’s books, but the real mastery here is the multiple narrative that the author chooses over a linear variant like he normally prefers. Each part of the book is told through a different character, and they all weave in beautifully. It is immensely satisfying to step alternately into the shoes of Harry, Old Jack Tarrant, Hugo Barrington, Emma, and Mrs. Clifton in turn, and to the author’s credit, the story never slackens – even when the narrator changes.
There is something magical about all novels written around the sea and ships, and this one is no different. Life near the docks has its own romance, and every page in the novel bears testimony to that. There are a few twists and turns that are predictable – especially to Archer fans who’ve gobbled up everything written by the master. But still the book doesn’t bore us and makes us read through at a go.
The story of the first part begins at the end of the first world war and at the start of the second. That gives the second book a completely different premise and in Archer’s hands, it is bound to shine – as did all his earlier novels of the period. I’m already looking forward to the second one, and hope it comes out soon – and not like Harry Potter which came out once a year!
Welcome back, Mr.Archer!!


Krishna Swetha said...

waiting to read this book since long... more so after this review!

Aditya said...

Good book akka. Must read.

sandy said...

wow! it does sound like a good read. ive beeen off archer for sometime now

Sonia said...

Character sculpting is the key to the success of Jeffery Archer novels, always..'Prisoner of Birth' was forgettable? I believe it was his true masterpiece!

Grabbed this latest one, and so far it does not seem all that gripping - yet - but then, only time will tell!

John Jethi said...

Only Time will Tell is definitely a great read and engrosses the reader from the first till the last page... the only downer - the remaining four books are not yet out :-(

Good review... I am now your follower. Hope to read many more reviews.

vini said...

Ashvini Kulkarni
After reading the first,can't wait for the second.hope it comes soon.

vini said...

Just finished reading the first and can't wait for the second.I hope it comes out soon.
Ashvini Kulkarni

Pranabesh said...

Just loved reading thru it.
And waiting for the next installment like most of us.

By the way, is it possible that someone real existed beneath Harry's sketch?

shikha said...

its 1 of da best compositions of archer ive ever read ,am totally spellbound after reading it!!!!at da end of each character's narration u r bound to be more curious than before

The Runescape Millioanire said...

In my opinion, prisoner of birth was amazing, I think one of his best works after Not a penny more, not a penny less. Maybe it is because I did not read the prison diaries before this one. But yes, False impression left a lot to be desired.

sandy2612 said...

When I first read the novel i thought i made a mistake in reading it coz, it ended suddenly without any conclusion also i was unaware that this is only the first part but now im more determined to read all 5 parts as soon as they release. Kuddos Archer wonderful story line

Shiva said...

Nowhere near Kane and Abel. And the idea of half-brother and sister falling in love has already been covered in As the Crow Flies.