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Still Time: A Novel by Jean Hegland
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Still Time: A Novel (2015)

by Jean Hegland

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John is losing his mind. Or is he gaining insight into his past? This novel picks you up and drops you into a world most of us fear. Yet does it in such a way as to be entertaining, heartwarming, frustrating and wondrous, just as living serves us all. The beauty lies in his ability to fall back on his long love of Shakespeare although, all the studying, reading and teaching those tragedy/comedies have nothing on the final answers his quest to understand will bring. No one knows for sure what goes on in the mind of those who have lost all sense of time and current events, but Hegland makes if feels right. The ups and downs of memory loss are a maddening affair. Full of things unspoken, promises broken and love’s small tokens. I was hooked from the beginning and did not guess the ending. A wonderful tale to behold. I would recommend it to all as it surely expanded my attempts to understand from the inside. The characters are richly detailed and I was never as lost as John. I need to call all my family and tell them I love them. Right Now!

A preview book was supplied free for an honest review. ( )
  catscritch | Oct 22, 2015 |
(ARC was provided to read and review.)

Still Time is the new offering from the author of Into the Forest, a dystopian novel, which has just recently been turned into a movie with Ellen Page and Even Rachel Wood playing the main parts.

Jean Hegland's new novel is the story of John Wilson, a retired Shakespeare scholar and it starts with his fourth wife trying to tell him something important and he notices she is very distressed and tries his best to cheer her up.

"If you hold a bee in your hand, what do you hold in your eye?"
"Beauty."
"That's right. As beauty is in the eye of the bee holder."

But however hard he tries, even his beloved Shakespeare quotes don't work this time. He can't fully comprehend, why she is so concerned and upset. Something about putting him in a home, but he isn't really sure, why he would need a carer. He feels fine. Still, she kind of seems to have a point, he just can't remember why.

John Wilson is suffering from dementia and his wife reluctantly moves him to a residental care facility. There he whiles away his days, sitting in a chair and looking out of the window, trying to reflect of his past life and struggling every day a bit more with his memory.
Shakespeare was his passion (and still is, on days, when he can remember it). The Bard's plays were always an important part of his life. The fallout with his father when he was young, his student years and then later as a professor, Shakespeare is the thread which holds it all together. Even now, when the dark fog rises and his mind becomes more and more clouded, the plays he knows so well help him to make sense of his increasingly fractured world.

When his daughter, Miranda, visits him at the care home, he starts to see his lifelong devotion in a different light. Desperately he tries to recall, why they haven't spoken in a decade. Did he repeat his father's mistakes with his own daughter?
And will there still be time for the two to reconnect? Is there Still Time left for a second chance?

The story is told from John Wilson's POV and it works amazingly well. John's account comes across as very realistic and believeable. The man, who could once with ease recite a complete Shakespeare's play in front of his students and now hardly remembers his name or where he is, tells his story with dignity and sometimes even a tender humour.
There are many Shakespeare quotes throughout the text, but you don't need to be familiar with his plays to enjoy reading the book.
With a voice, which is beautifully poetic, the author has created a novel, which is deeply moving and reminds us, that we still have time to love and the hope of forgiveness as long as we are alive. ( )
  MasterReadersBooks | Sep 29, 2015 |
This is a very moving story about a Shakespeare scholar who has recently moved to a nursing home due to Alzheimer’s. Your heart will break as you witness his struggle to deal with the failure of language, memory and thought process. This is a man who memorized whole Shakespeare plays and now doesn’t know where he is or what day it is. At times, he leaves the strange and unfamiliar world of the nursing home behind as he travels in his mind to events of his past and loses himself in the stories written by Shakespeare. Other times, he’ll catch a glimpse of the past but will then lose the thread of thought and memory.

The novel also explores his estranged relationship with his daughter, Miranda. A misunderstanding of many years ago still stands between them and the question throughout the book is whether there’s still time for them to make things right again. The book really brought home the truth of how finite our time on earth is.

I loved the way the author included parts of Shakespeare throughout the story. John is so entrenched in his life-long study of Shakespeare that he speaks as though he were in a Shakespeare play and he compares all that has happened to him in his life to those stories of long ago. The story shows the importance of literature in our lives and how it anchors us more firmly to the world around us.

It’s a slow moving book, yet I couldn’t tear myself away from it and was glued to its pages. The author is a master at bringing her characters to life and so realistically portraying their thoughts. It’s a heart wrenching book and it touched me deeply. This is the first book I’ve read by Jean Hegland but it certainly won’t be the last.

This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review. ( )
  hubblegal | Jul 29, 2015 |
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"From the author of Into the Forest, a moving novel about memory, Shakespeare's green worlds, and the power of reconciliation. Until John Wilson met the warm, wise woman who became his fourth wife, the object of his most intense devotion had always been the work of William Shakespeare. From his feat of memorizing Romeo and Juliet and half a dozen other plays as a student to his evangelical zeal as a professor, John's faith in the Bard has shaped his life. But now his mental powers have been diminished by dementia, and his wife has reluctantly moved him to a residential care facility. Even there, as he struggles to understand what's going on around him, John's knowledge of the plays helps him make sense of his fractured world. Yet, when his only child, Miranda-with whom he has not spoken since a devastating misunderstanding a decade ago-comes to visit, John begins to question some of his deepest convictions. In his devotion to Shakespeare, did he lose his way? Did he wrong the child who wronged him? The story of an imperfect father and a wounded daughter's efforts to achieve some authentic connection even now, Still Time celebrates redemption and the gift of second chances. It is that rare novel that ends on a resounding note of hope, reminding us that there is always time to live fully and love deeply, so long as we are alive. "--… (more)

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Arcade Publishing

2 editions of this book were published by Arcade Publishing.

Editions: 1628725796, 1628728213

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