Josh Lovejoy is a teenager who is also an aspiring filmmaker. A ‘good’ boy, an only son, he lives in a small town in Georgia. One sweltering summer night, he uncharacteristically shares some marijuana after a filming session. High, he drives home and hits a lone jogger who seemingly came out of nowhere. His life, and the lives of those around him, are irrevocably changed.
Josh always attempted to please his father, yet he always failed. This time, his father explodes in fury at him and leaves the marital home. Josh, of course, blames himself for the separation of his parents.
Helen Lovejoy, Josh’s mother, is a nurse. She has always adored her son and found that recent years have compelled her to side with him against his father who doesn’t seem to understand what Josh needs. Now, her son is a pariah, her husband has left the home, and she is spiraling into depression. On leave from her nursing job, it is only her artistic hobby that keeps her going.
Hal Lovejoy, a clock repairman, is in turmoil. He had such hopes and aspirations for his son Josh, yet in his eyes, Josh always falls short. When Josh disappointed him yet again, he could take no more and moved out of the house into the rooms above his shop. It is Hal’s personal failures, and the fact that he sees himself in his son, that troubles him the most.
Meanwhile, another person acutely affected by the accident is Meg Masters, an elementary school teacher and the wife of David Masters, the jogger who Josh struck down. Her world has upended. David lies in a coma, and Meg comes home to a house empty and echoing. Childless, she feels sorry for the boy Josh who made one tragic mistake. In an effort to make contact with the dysfunctional family, she takes an old clock into Hal’s shop for cleaning and repair.
Meanwhile, David Masters, comatose, sometimes feels Meg’s presence by his bedside. At other times, perversely, he communicates with the singer Peggy Lee…His life, once so vital both physically and mentally, has been diminished. Now he lies alone with his thoughts… unable to communicate.
One split second can change the trajectory of a life. Subsequently, the lives of all those people surrounding that life are deeply affected as well.
In empathetic prose, Sara Baker has laid bare the hopes, dreams, guilty secrets, and imaginings of those most affected by a tragic accident.
Anyone who prefers a fast-paced narrative will be very disappointed in this novel. The pace was ponderously slow – as if the timekeeper himself slowed it down… It spoke to many human emotions such as disappointment, failure, bitterness, broken dreams and personal inadequacies.
The scenes where the late singer Peggy Lee comes to David Masters’ bedside, though I’m sure they had artistic merit, did nothing to further the story in my personal opinion.
This was a superbly wrought work of literary fiction, but it was just too melancholic for my taste. A moving and thoughtful story which was realistic, yet the characters were so very broken and lacking hope that it left me feeling despondent.
“The Timekeeper’s Son” will probably be the perfect novel for some readers, it just didn’t fill me with reading joy.I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Deeds Publishing via NetGalley – at my request, for my own reading enjoyment and the writing of this review.
ISBN: 9781944193560 – ASIN: B07R8LYL2Z – 418 pages
Sara Baker‘s fiction has been widely published in literary journals, including the Crab Orchard Review, Cleaver, Confrontation, H.O.W. Journal, China Grove, theintima.com, The Examined Life Journal, The New Quarterly, The Lullwater Review. Her work has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Fish Short Story Contest. Her poetry has been published in Stone, River, Sky: an Anthology of Georgia Poetry, The 2011 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, The Apalachee Review, The Healing Muse, Ars Medica, and elsewhere.
After teaching English literature and writing at the college level for fifteen years, Sara’s own experience with illness and loss spurred her to design and facilitate a writing-to-heal workshop for cancer patients and caregivers at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support in Athens, Georgia. Over the eleven years she ran those workshops, she presented and published extensively in the field of expressive writing. Her passion to share the healing that can emerge from writing comes directly from her own experiences.
Sara lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband, physicist and author Todd Baker. They have three grown children, one almost grown, and are grateful to live in such a wonderful community. When not writing or teaching, Sara is an avid gardener, dancer and dog lover.