The subject of ghosts is intriguing, but the element which fascinated me was the depiction of time. Time has a fluid quality that weaves in and out, forward and back, throughout the narrative.
"I've been having trouble with time lately."
Wes begins his narrative talking about time. His problem is not with the conventional measurements of minutes and hours. Rather it is the evidence of another time period appearing in his current existence. that is another time coexisting in his "now".
This fluid concept of time is brilliantly illustrated in Shuttered Eyes, an art film created by his fellow workshop classmate Tyler. Wes describes his thoughts when viewing Tyler's film.
The images tumble together in a way that makes me uncomfortable, but which manages to be beautiful. It's like a kaleidoscope, only it's telling a story... There's a woman winding on her turban, then me falling...then back to the woman winding her turban. Time seems to move both forward and back and it's dizzying, but it's rhythmic and magical."
Later he defends Tyler's movie to students in the workshop.
"So," I start, "one of the things I really admired about it was its use of time?" I wait, wondering if I'm going to say anything else. Then I continue, "It managed to use non-narrative image structures to convey a simultaneous passage of time forward and backward."
The tale is in part Legend of Sleepy Hollow but I am also reminded of movies such as Back to the Future and Groundhog Day. It brings to mind several questions: What is the past? What is the future? Where do they intersect? Can knowledge of the future change events from the past?
Where is here? What is now?
“I am here. I am here, right now."
How fitting that the final sentence of the book leaves readers with another reflection of one’s perception of time. I have found this statement true for me.
"But a minute can be an eternity, sometimes."