Time and Again

Time and Again

4.1 71
by Jack Finney

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Since it was first published in 1970, Time and Again has become a truly timeless cult classic with a vast and loyal following. This 25th anniversary edition, filled with its original unique period illustrations, is being published to coincide with its long-awaited sequel, From Time to Time. Time and Again will soon be a major motion picture produced and directed by…  See more details below


Since it was first published in 1970, Time and Again has become a truly timeless cult classic with a vast and loyal following. This 25th anniversary edition, filled with its original unique period illustrations, is being published to coincide with its long-awaited sequel, From Time to Time. Time and Again will soon be a major motion picture produced and directed by Robert Redford.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Go back to a wonderful world and have a wonderful time doing it.
Gale Research
Time and Again was favorably received upon publication in 1970. ANew York Times reviewer deemed it "an inviting and highly readable piece of entertainment" and added that Finney "has created piece of nostalgic suspense that is not without its special poignancy." Similarly, W. G. Rogers wrote in the New York Times Book Review that with Time and Again, Finney had concocted "a most ingenious confection of time now and time then." Rogers concluded that through the novel "you go back to a wonderful world and have a wonderful time doing it."

Since publishing Time and Again Finney has continued to prove himself a versatile writer.

San Francisco Examiner
Mind-boggling, imaginaiton-stretching...entertainment.
From the Publisher
New York Times

Go back to a wonderful world and have a wonderful time doing it.

Stephen King
"The great time-travel story."
Alice Hoffman
“A cult time-traveling favorite . . . This one is pure New York fun.”

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Is shirt-sleeves, the way I generally worked, I sat sketching a bar of soap taped to an upper corner of my drawing board. The gold-foil wrapper was carefully peeled back so that you could still read most of the brand name printed on it; I'd spoiled the wrappers of half a dozen bars before getting that effect. This was a new idea, the product to be shown ready for what the accompanying copy called "fragrant, lathery, lovelier you" use, and I had the job of sketching it into half a dozen layouts, the bar of soap at a slightly different angle in each.

It was just exactly as boring as it sounds, and I stopped to look out the window beside me, down twelve stories at Fifty-fourth Street and the little heads moving along the sidewalk. It was a sunny, sharply clear day in mid-November, and I'd have liked to be out in it, the whole afternoon ahead and nothing to do; nothing I had to do, that is.

Over at the paste-up table Vince Mandel, our lettering man, thin and dark and probably feeling as caged-up today as I was, stood working with the airbrush, a cotton surgical mask over his mouth. He was spraying a flesh-colored film onto a Life magazine photo of a girl in a bathing suit. The effect, when he finished, would be to remove the suit, leaving the girl apparently naked except for the ribbon she wore slanted from shoulder to waist on which was lettered MISS BUSINESS MACHINES. This kind of stunt was Vince's favorite at-work occupation ever since he'd thought of it, and the retouched picture would be added to a collection of others like it on the art-department bulletin board, at which Maureen, our nineteen-year-old paste-up girl andmessenger, refused ever to look or even glance, though often urged.

Frank Dapp, our art director, a round little package of energy, came trotting toward his partitioned-off office in the northeast comer of the artists' bullpen. As he passed the big metal supply cabinet just inside the room he hammered violently on its open door, yodeling at full bellow. It was an habitual release of unused energy like a locomotive jetting steam, a starting eruption of sound. But neither Vince nor I nor Karl Jonas at the board ahead of mine glanced up. Neither did anyone in the typists' pool outside, I knew, although strangers waiting in the art-department reception room just down the hall had been known to leap to their feet at the sound.

It was an ordinary day, a Friday, twenty minutes till lunchtime, five hours till quitting time and the weekend, ten months till vacation, thirty-seven years till retirement. Then the phone rang.

"Man here to see you, Si." It was Vera, at the switchboard. "He has no appointment."

"That's okay. He's my connection; I need a fix."

"What you need can't be fixed." She clicked off. I got up, wondering who it was; an artist in an advertising agency doesn't usually have too many visitors. The main reception room was on the floor below, and I took the long route through Accounting and Media, but no new girls had been hired.

Frank Dapp called the main reception room Off Broadway. It was decorated with a genuine Oriental rug, several display cases of antique silver from the collection of the wife of one of the three partners, and with a society matron whose hair was also antique silver and who relayed visitors' requests to Vera. As I walked toward it my visitor stood looking at one of the framed ads hung on the walls. Something I don't like admitting and which I've learned to disguise is a shyness about meeting people, and now I felt the familiar slight apprehension and momentary confusion as he turned at the sound of my approaching footsteps. He was bald and short, the top of his head reaching only to my eye level, and I'm an inch short of six feet. He looked about thirty-five, I thought, walking toward him, and he was remarkably thick-chested; he'd outweigh me without being fat. He wore an olive-green gabardine suit that didn't go with his pink redhead's complexion. I hope he's not a salesman, I thought; then he smiled as I stepped into the lobby, a real smile, and I liked him instantly and relaxed. No, I told myself, he's not selling anything, and I couldn't have been more wrong about that.

"Mr. Morley?" I nodded, smiling back at him. "Mr. Simon Morley?" he said, as though there might be several of us Morleys here at the agency and he wanted to be certain.


He still wasn't satisfied. "Just for fun, do you remember your army serial number?" He took my elbow and began walking me out into the elevator corridor away from the receptionist.

I rattled it off; it didn't even occur to me to wonder why I was doing this for a stranger, no questions asked.

"Right!" he said approvingly, and I felt pleased. We were out in the corridor now, no one else around.

"Are you from the army? If so, I don't want any today."

He smiled, but didn't answer the question, I noticed. He said, "I'm Ruben Prien," and hesitated momentarily as though I might recognize the name, then continued. "I should have phoned and made an appointment; but I'm in a hurry so I took a chance on dropping in."

"That's all right, I wasn't doing anything but working. What can I do for you?"

He grimaced humorously at the difficulty of what he had to say. "I've got to have about an hour of your time. Right now, if you can manage it." He looked embarrassed. "I'm sorry, but...if you could just take me on faith for a little while, I'd appreciate it."

I was hooked; he had my interest. "All right. It's ten to twelve; would you like to have lunch? I can leave a little early."

"Fine, but let's not talk indoors. We could pick up some sandwiches and eat in the park. Okay? It's not too cool."

Nodding, I said, "I'll get my coat and meet you here. You interest me strangely." I stood hesitating, looking closely at this pleasant, tough-looking, bald little man, then said it. "As I think you know. Matter of fact, you've been through this whole routine before, haven't you? Complete with embarrassed look."

He grinned and made a little finger-snapping motion. "And I thought I really had it down. Well, it's back to the mirror, and more practice. Get your coat; we're losing time."

We walked north on Fifth Avenue past the incredible buildings of glass and steel, glass and enameled metal, glass and marble, and the older ones of more stone than glass. It's a stunning street and unbelievable; I never get used to it, and I wonder if anyone really does. Is there any other place where an entire cloud bank can be completely reflected in the windows of one wall of only one building, and with room to spare? Today I especial??? enjoyed being out on Fifth, the temperature in the high 50's, a nice late-fall coolness in the air. It was nearly noon, and beautiful girls came dancing out of every office building we passed, and I thought of how regrettable it was that I'd never know or even speak to most of them. The little bald man beside me said, "I'll tell you what I've come to say to you; then I'll listen to questions. Maybe I'll even answer some. But everything I can really tell you I will have said before we reach Fifty-sixth Street. I've done this thirty-odd times now, and never figured out a good way to say it or even sound very sane while trying, so here goes.

"There's a project. A U.S. government project I guess you'd have to call it. Secret, naturally; as what isn't in government these days? In my opinion, and that of a handful of others, it's more important than all the nuclear, space-exploration, satellite, and rocket programs put together, though a hell of a lot smaller. I tell you right off that I can't even hint what the project is about. And believe me, you'd never guess. I can and do say that nothing human beings have ever before attempted in the entire nutty history of the race even approaches this in absolute fascina

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Time and Again 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 71 reviews.
Maria_of_amor More than 1 year ago
I think I first read this book in 1971, and have read it several times since. The author actually makes me feel like I am really transported to the 1800's. Jack Finney captures the time period perfectly - at least, exactly how I imagine it would be. The main charactor, Si, is marvelous! And the mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat. There is a lot of detail in it (too much for younger readers), but I find it fascinating! A great writer, and a great book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I won't add to the laudatory comments about this book but would like to raise an intriguing question in connection with the Steve Reeves/Jane Seymour movie, "Somewhere in Time." In 1970 Jack Finney copyrighted what he called "An Illustrated Novel" named "Time and Again," which I have. It is a romantic, soulful read predicated on time travel back to an earlier New York City. I have always been struck by the similarity between the time travel "method" used by Finney in his book, and the sort of self-hypnosis method used in the Somewhere in Time movie. They are uncannily similar! Yet I find no credit for Jack Finney in connection with the Somewhere in Time movie on either the comments posted on Amazon.com or anywhere on the Internet Movie Database.
JackAGK More than 1 year ago
I first picked up this book sometime in the 70's. I treasured my hardcover copy but made the mistake of lending it to someone who never returned it, but I quickly located a replacement. I almost never re-read a book, but I've read this one three times and I'm looking forward to a fourth. The story and concept resonated with me and I rank it at the top of the thousands of books that I've read. If you're into a good mystery with a little science fiction time travel thrown in, then you'll enjoy this book as much as I did.
RogerRodger More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved it, it's been a few years since I read this book, but it is an absolutely riveting novel. If you love time travel like I do, you'll love Time and Again, and From Time to Time by Jack Finney.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has it all -- mystery, romance, history and science fiction, beautifully woven together in a spellbinding tale. I have recommended it to countless other readers, all of whom have loved it, too. Definitely one of my favorite books of all times.
BB_LaBone More than 1 year ago
"Time and Again" was first published in the 1970's. It's a time-travel adventure with a generous serving of romance and suspense/mystery, set in New York in the 1970's and 1880's. When the hero arrived in 1880's New York, the descriptions made me feel I was right there with him. The author balanced description with character development, plot with theme development -- all the right balances to create a truly enjoyable book.
Rapp_Connor More than 1 year ago
Time and Again, written by Jack Finney, was published in 1970. It is an excellent book and one of the best you will ever find in a bookstore. What was most interesting about the novel was the fact that the main character, Si, has to chose between two worlds. He travels from the twentieth century into the year 1882. He leaves his significant other to go on this government sponsored time travel project. When he arrives in 1882, he meets a woman. He must then choose whether to stay with the woman he has met in the past, or go back to living his normal life. This story was not only intriguing because of the story line, but also because of the author's great description of the past. He did a great job of making the reader feel like they are actually in the late 1800's. Time and Again by Jack Finney is not only a classic novel, but also an excellent read for all ages. 
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Time and Again is a fascinatingly unique book written by bestselling author, Jack Finney (1911 to 1995). Originally released in 1970, it is a time travel / romance complete with photographs and drawings. It tells the story of a man by the name of Simon Morley who is recruited for a top secret experiment - to travel back in time to New York City in the year 1882. But this is no regular time travel tale. Rather, what you will read is an amazingly detailed recreation of life as it was in the New York of 1882. From fashion to landscape, from societal norms to politics, never before have I read a book with such intensely vibrant details. Into the storyline, numerous photographs and drawings are provided and described through the eyes of Simon. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the antique photographs of the characters.  The plot is interesting and well planned, and although the intense descriptions slow the pace of the novel, the rich writing and descriptions truly make this story play like a movie in your mind, making the characters real, larger than life. This story is alive and with lovely flowing simple prose, it is a story that truly does pull you back into 1882. The time travel storyline is entirely credible and realistically believable. It is easy to see why this book has become a beloved classic. If a visit to New York city has always been your dream, read this book to get to know the city. If you have visited New York city before, read this book to bring back memories of your trip. And if you live in New York, read this book to experience the historical growth and vibrancy of this city in a gentler era.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I began this book hesitant about it's 'science fiction' type of story line, but I quickly got right into and couldn't wait to turn page after page. Being familiar with New York City also made it more interesting to me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jack Finney has taken this book on a time travel journey and brought us on the same journey. I truly felt like I was there. His descriptive powers are unbound. Simon Morley is recruited into a government project on time travel. The project spans to the late 19th century. Si travels to 1882 he observes only and returns. On a following trip he begins to interact with the people of that time while there he meets Julia. They become hunted criminals of this generation and he returns to the present bringing Julia. I will not say any more in my review cause the reader must enjoy this journey themselves. I loved this book the author captured my imagination and I believe that is what we all seek when we read.JM
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised to see Lamar's 2007 review. I too, since first reading this book (1990), have read it each year since. Although ficton, it is a historical novel which is especially interesting if you already know something about NY City. I read it each summertime as the book's tempo and mood are soothing. I am a cerified Engish teacher and, if it was my choice, I would include this incredibly aluring story into the curriculum for high school students. Character development and personal interaction, played out in a hard to believe but historically proven setting, create interest that comes from the core of being human.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite time travel book. I first read it in 1987 and have read it every year since. What a great story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are alot of extra chapters describing the setting and setting up the story. It shows that the topic's been well researched, but it took a while for the story to pick up the pace. Aside from the time it took to speed up, the whole idea was REALLY interesting. The way time travel was presented made me believe that it was possible. And the ending was so good it made up for the slower parts of the story. Overall, just a really great story about a facinating NYC.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Schmooby-Doo 8 months ago
Excellent time travel novel, written in 1970 and very much worth your time, no pun intended. I discovered it quite by accident and I'm glad I did. I htink it was one of those "If you liked this book, you might like THIS book." I got the nook version and it does have the illustrations of the printed version. Well developed characters, a slow yet steady pace and a neat, subtle twist at the very end. I think this book is kind of the grand-daddy of time travel romances. I don't want to spoil the fun but I'd highly recommend this book if you like late 19th century American history and New York City.
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JPFerrisBethesda More than 1 year ago
I first read this book more than thirty years ago. As Audrey Niffenegger (author of the wonderful "Time Traveler's Wife" and an admirer of "Time and Again") points out in her introductory remarks to this edition, the "present" when "Time and Again" was written is our past now, and that part of the book--just like the bulk of the book, set in the nineteenth century--is a kind of time capsule. So, not surprisingly, the 1970s part of the book seems a bit dated to me now. But nineteenth-century New York is still vivid and fascinating. Mark Twain wrote that "travel is fatal to prejudice." That seems to me to be as true of the time travel "Time and Again" allows us to indulge in as geographical travel. Take a walk in Manhattan with Jack Finney's characters--but be careful of the traffic, because there are no signals yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it up until then.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jmcplus2 More than 1 year ago
Very good,but the Christopher Reeve movie was not from this book,but "Somewhere in Time by the prolific writer,Richard Matheson...who also wrote "I Am Legend","Duel", "The Incredible Shrinking Man"."A Stir of Echoes"and "Hell House" which were all made into movies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To the person asking about a possible connection to the film "Somewhere In Time"... While there may not be any particular credit given to "Time and Again", I have noticed what seems to be a nod of respect to author Jack Finney in the film. Christopher Reeve's character consults his old college professor who wrote a book on time travel - the professor's name was Finney.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story read sequal if you find it