Keeping Time

Keeping Time: A Novel (ACRE) by [Thomas Legendre]THE BOOK: Keeping Time

PUBLISHED IN: March 2020

THE AUTHOR: Thomas Legendre

THE EDITOR: Nicola Mason

THE PUBLISHER: University of Cincinnati Press/Acre Books

SUMMARY: Set in Scotland, Keeping Time is about an archaeologist who travels back in time and has an affair with his wife — or is it about a musician having an affair with her husband?

THE BACK STORY: Many strange ingredients went into Keeping Time apart from a fascination with time travel. As an American living in Scotland, I became obsessed with the prehistoric sites and landscape of Kilmartin Glen many years ago while working on Half Life (an immersive, site-specific performance which took place on the west coast of Scotland as part of NVA’s environmental art installation with National Theatre of Scotland). In addition I discovered some wild and fantastic things about Bach that correspond to prehistoric material culture. I’m not kidding. The catalyst, though, was an unintentionally laughable guest column in the Business section of the New York Times called “What’s in My Briefcase,” in which a member of the one percent tried to show his human side by listing personal contents, including “a photo of my wife in a bikini twenty years ago.”

Thomas LegendreWHY THIS TITLE: My working title was accurate but generic, so my editor wisely suggested a new one. We kicked around about a dozen options until we settled on Keeping Time for not only its literal meaning, but also its emotional and musical resonance.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ ITOutlander meets The Time Traveler’s Wife.


“A mind-bending time-travel love story” — David Nicholls, author of One Day

​“Twisty and inventive” — Bookanista

“. . . a liquid-prosed, dual-narrated time-travel romance . . . . The question that haunts Keeping Time is less intellectual than personal, rooted in the specific characters of Aaron and Violet and the troubled, passionate dynamic between them, because what kind of circle is this marriage, exactly, one floating serenely in stable orbit, one spiraling outwards into space — one circling the drain? Keeping Time succeeds as a novel by involving you in the contortionist pretzel that is a marriage in conflict. . . . you’re won over by the voice of the book, lyrical and elegiac; one finds oneself turning the pages.” — Hindsight Magazine.

“A rich and compelling novel with a time-travelling dual narrative.” — The List

Keeping Time is a rich novel that explores the nature of a marriage and asks whether love is a monolith, a miracle of biology, or an artificial construct. Alternating between the late 1980s and the early 2000s, the story focuses on a crumbling marriage. After a promising, romantic start, Violet and Aaron’s connection has eroded. Two children, several career failures, and health issues sink them into the mire of disappointment. Then an ancient mystery makes Aaron hope that he can travel through time to correct the conflicts that threaten to split his family apart. . . . Keeping Time is a modern story with a fantastic deus ex machina at its core: if you could change the past, would you?” — Foreword Reviews

​“An intelligent and compelling novel. The story’s concerns with the lure of the past and the tensions between past and present are beautifully echoed in Aaron and Violet’s respective obsessions as archaeologist and musician, as well as in the dynamic between them as a couple. This complex exploration of time and the connections between worlds resonates beyond its reading.” — Alison Moore, author of The Lighthouse

AUTHOR PROFILE: I was born and raised in Maine (yes, Stephen King territory) and spent a good chunk of my early adult years in Arizona, which burned all the Maine right out of me, before ending up in Scotland nearly twenty years ago. This was all in pursuit of education, employment, and yearning for great places. Now I shuttle back and forth between Edinburgh and my job at the University of Nottingham, where I teach Creative Writing, smuggling as much literature into my classes as I possibly can.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Keeping Time was released at the beginning of lockdown and received very little attention. In fact, I wrote a short piece about it here:

If you want to get a flavor for the novel, watch the trailer:

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link):

LOCAL OUTLETS: Available wherever books are sold, including your local, independent bookshop.


PRICE: $19.00 for a very high-quality paperback. Really. I’ve heard many compliments from readers about the physical book itself.


Twitter: @legendreality

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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