The Time That's Given

Fiction - Fantasy - General
252 Pages
Reviewed on 07/01/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Time That's Given by David Litwack is the story of a man who wished to change the world and when he is given the opportunity he takes it in both hands and tries to make the best of the decision he made. Burt Higgins is a retired man who has had enough of the state of the world. While his children are all grown and his wife is living her life, he is stuck in a mindset in which he believes that there is a dark lord who is the root of everything wrong with their world. So when he is surprised by a magical guide who promises to take him on whatever quest he wishes, Burt seizes this as the perfect opportunity to try to save the world. However, he soon realizes that things are not as simple as he thought them to be. It turns out that fighting evil and saving the world is far more difficult than he had anticipated. Now that he is in the realm of his choice, what is he going to do? Can he save the world while trying to stay alive?

I remember when I read The Seekers Series, I was blown away with David Litwack’s style of writing. So you can imagine my expectations were high when it came to reading this novel. David has blown my mind once again with this new novel. It is original, entertaining, action-packed and exceptionally well-crafted. I loved Burt; he is spunky, brilliant and exceptionally well-developed. I loved the quest, I loved the action and I loved the journey that the author took me on. I enjoyed every aspect of this story and I can’t wait to see what else he has in store in the future! Absolutely magical!

Lit Amri

“What if the purpose of what we call life is to accumulate experiences, to gather memories sufficient to enhance our imagination, so that when we enter the forever dream, we’ve gathered enough to stitch together a tapestry more fascinating than reality?” Retirement life for 62-year-old Burt Higgins is not as blissful as he hoped it would be. His children are now adults and have lives of their own. His wife Betty went back to college to pursue her master's degree, leaving him alone in their suburban home, brooding over the bad news on TV and the internet. While housebound due to a snowstorm, Burt retreats to his study and loses himself in his books. A brief trip down memory lane prompted him to light a special candle he bought during his travels in Prague, which unexpectedly offers him an opportunity to take on a hero’s quest in a fantasy realm.

The storyline moved along at a steady pace and kept me involved and curious. As he journeyed through the fantasy world, Burt Higgins recalled his past; memories of his youth, his family, his children, his wife’s battle with cancer and certain significant events in his life. The supposedly fantastical aspects of the world that all started from a peculiar candle exhibit-at times vividly-the real world’s ‘despair’. By helping his companions, finding the source of despair, gaining youth and a magical weapon to slay any adversaries ahead, Burt's journey reflects his own insecurities and doubt but also determination and courage to see his quest to the end. Finding out that Burt’s experience wasn’t only unique to him was a remarkable revelation. The Time That’s Given has adventure, intrigue, and self-reflection through relatable characters. Overall, a commendable and thought-provoking tale from David Litwack.

K.C. Finn

The Time That’s Given is a work of contemporary fantasy fiction with a modern, urban twist, and was penned by author David Litwack. The plot begins with an urban drama as we meet the newly retired Burt Higgins. As a man whose working life is over and his children grown, Burt is abandoned and alone when his wife leaves to earn a degree that she has been yearning for. As Burt slowly sinks into griping about the state of the world, an unlikely set of events leads him to be offered a magical opportunity. When Burt asks to become a hero in a fantasy world, he gets a lot more drama than he bargained for.

Clever, funny, action-packed and highly observational, the work of author David Litwack is an absolute joy to read. One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel was its realistic feel, even when Burt is transported to a place where he has magic to try to solve the evils of the world he sees before him. There is a personal, psychological journey going on which focuses on isolation and despair with great emotional intelligence, as well as a fantastic fantasy plot that mirrors and mimics traditions of the genre with wit and sharpness. The dialogue, too, is very telling of character, introducing us to a wide variety of personas with unique voices and views. Overall, The Time That’s Given is a wonderful literary fantasy novel with many poignant ideas, embedded in a compelling personal drama that’s hard to break away from.

K.J. Simmill

Albert was lonely. His son had grown and moved away, his daughter was busy with her first child on the way, and the love of his life had traveled abroad to complete her dream of obtaining a degree. Alone in his home, he retreats to his imaginings fuelled by the many fantasy novels he had read, and the increasing despair growing in the world. As time passes, like so many, he comes to think of despair as a sentient being, one he could vanquish given the right circumstances. Little did he know, he was about to get his wish. When he lit a candle bought in an old curiosity store, he is transported to another world, one where a guide vows to fulfill his need for adventure. Equipped in his bathrobe and slippers he sets off, but the adventure awaiting him is nothing like that he expected. Seeking the source of despair, he finds his life becomes intertwined with that of a young family, but when one of them is whisked away, Albert vows to rescue him. His quest alters and evolves with every step, but so too does his perception, and that which is a dream becomes more real than his former reality. When the time comes to make a choice, which world, which family will he choose?

The Time That's Given is a fantasy novel by David Litwack. Written in an engaging first-person perspective, it allows you deep insight into Albert's thoughts, concerns, and realizations. The slow yet steady pace introduces enough momentum to create an interest in the characters, and Albert's daydreaming and overlapping realities allow insight into his past and the life he experienced as a younger man. There are many messages clearly evident in the book. Such as the difference in outlooks, where some people see only despair and hopelessness, there are those who see a glimmer of hope, and it is these who search for it who can make a difference. Small but powerful messages of self-discovery and self-reflection invite the reader to think about their own lifestyles and outlooks. Unique ideas, magic, kinship, and enlightenment fill each page and will appeal to those who like a slower-paced read with morals and messages clearly presented. Within this book are some amazing ideas, and I applaud the work's potential to make the reader think about themselves and the world.

Astrid Iustulin

The Time That’s Given by David Litwack does not seem to have a typical hero. Albert “Burt” Higgins is a recently retired man who has a difficult time at home. He lives by himself after his wife decided to get her MFA and spends a lot of time listening to the news. The accounts are disappointing, and Albert starts dreaming about a demon who causes despair. If he could find him, then he would make the world a better place. One day, Albert lights a candle he bought in Prague, and a guide appears and escorts him into a different world. Here, Albert begins his journey to find the source of despair, but his quest is more complicated than he imagines.

The Time That’s Given is an engaging and intelligent read. A journey is the best opportunity to discover something new, and in the present case, Albert’s discovery is more significant than ever. Litwack presents considerations about the foundation of the universe that are more profound than a simplistic conflict between good and evil. He also asks his readers an intriguing question: Which is the real world, the one from which Albert comes or the one where the guide brought him? I like this subtle line between dream and reality, as well as the importance of time, highlighted by the title. Moreover, I have to notice that The Time That’s Given benefits from a wonderful narrative. The author’s way of writing is sensitive and impressive. Even though Albert’s thoughts are minutely described, the story is fast-paced. I consider The Time That’s Given one of the most inspiring fantasy novels I have ever read.