Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Bridge of Years-Robert Charles Wilson

A Bridge of Years

Robert Charles Wilson

Orb/Tor, Dec 6 2011, $16.99

ISBN: 9780765327420

Following a divorce and a desperate need to start over, alcoholic Tom Winter leaves Seattle to return home to Belltower where he buys a three decade old house not occupied for over ten years, but maintained in pristine condition by an apparent phantom housekeeping service. The previous occupant Ben Collier lived there from 1964 until he vanished in 1980. Tom thinks his luck has changed as there is not one iota of dust anywhere and everything works.

However, he wonders if he is having the DTs when the “Tidiness Elves” clean his dishes. He soon meets his ghosts the cybernetic caretakers who plead with him to repair the abode as Tom learns the basement contains a tunnel that on the other end takes a traveler to Greenwich Village circa 1962. Ignoring the custodians’ warning not to enter the tunnel, Tom lands in May 1962 where he meets Joyce Casella in Washington Square Park. They are attracted to one another, but she fears he lost his mind to LSD or something similar. However, a marauder Billy Gargullo who killed Ben targets Tom and Joyce.

This is a reprint of a 1991 classic time traveler relationship drama. The exciting story line is filled with action, a vague future filled with war and horrific climate change, and a purposely not fully developed bittersweet romance. Character driven, fans who appreciate a complex somewhat convoluted thriller will want to read Robert Charles Wilson’s terrific time travel treatise as the protagonist struggles to cope psychologically (accentuated with the right on target climax) even more than the physical stalking by a killer.

Harriet Klausner

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