A small Southern town. A restless boy. An embittered father. And late one night, a careless mistake.
Aspiring teenage filmmaker Josh Lovejoy, uncharacteristically high one night, hits a jogger. It is not any jogger, but David Masters, a popular local activist in the small town of Milledge, Georgia. The accident puts Masters in the hospital in a coma, and shatters the fragile equilibrium of the Lovejoy family. Josh's father, Hal, a clockmaker who keeps timepieces running with a passion he fails to bring to his marriage, retreats to his clock shop. Helen Lovejoy, a dedicated mother and amateur painter, falls into a depression. A shocked Josh reluctantly takes up his court-ordered community service work with disabled children. Meanwhile, comatose David is visited by the ghost of singer Peggy Lee, while his childless wife, Meg, an elementary school teacher, tries to imagine her life without him. In her grief, Meg becomes obsessed with the Lovejoy family.
As the adults around him try to find their footing, Josh indulges in dreams of his future as a famous filmmaker. In love with an unstable girl and estranged from his parents, Josh follows her to New York City, where, overwhelmed, he makes a fateful decision that puts him beyond the help of those who love him.
Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights era and the fraying social net of the New South, The Timekeeper's Son weaves the lives of these five characters together exposing hidden learning disabilities, broken dreams, complicated relationships, and communication difficulties. It explores themes of grief and forgiveness, isolation and connection, masks and disguises, all while depicting its characters' lives with tender intimacy. Written with a poet's sensibility to language and imagery, with impeccable pacing, and with elements of both the thriller and magical realism, this is a singular novel not to be missed.
What others are saying about The Timekeeper's Son
"Baker's (Mail-Order Bride, 2017) prose is crisp and precise, tethered to her characters' emotions in a way that imbues every scene and observation with meaning…The characters are finely drawn, and Baker isn't afraid to spend a lot of time on the way they process the eruptions in their lives…this is a serious and engrossing exploration of tragedy and the emotions that come with it."
In her emotionally riveting debut novel, The Timekeeper's Son, award-winning author Sara Baker takes us on a suspenseful journey that begins in a small Southern town and ventures into the inner landscapes of two families as their long-held assumptions about their lives crumble. In spare, elegant prose, Baker skillfully leads the reader into the eye of a hurricane. An accident precipitates the collision of several townspeople whose fates are entwined, compelling each to reassess their self-identity. By compassionately penetrating the hearts and minds of her characters, Baker shows us the agony wrought by impermanence and asks us to consider how loss offers a possibility for transformation. This achingly poignant story will haunt you long after you've closed the covers of the book.
—Dale Kushner, author of The Conditions of Love
A community icon vital to a troubled Georgia town is left comatose by an impaired 17-year-old driver and thus begins this tale that underscores how a single tragic moment can send ripples of change through the lives and futures of those at the scene, their families and friends, and even those they've yet to meet. With the precision of a clockmaker, Sara Baker has set into place the gears that move her characters from an horrific incident, through the inevitable mazes that comprise life after, to the satisfying ending of a father/son story framed by loss and recovery.
- Suzanne Strempek Shea, prizewinning author of Make a Wish, But Not for Money
You have written a fantastic novel....Hal's need for control and order, Helen's insecurity and fear of exposure, Josh's youthful dreams and follies, Meg's loneliness and longing to mother, all tied with the thread of a disaster, these are elements that will touch all readers, find a root somewhere in everyone.
—Laura Petrella, editor
I would like to thank NetGalley and Deeds Publishing for an ARC of The Timekeeper's Son by Sara Baker. Wow!! This is an intriguing and complex novel dealing with modern day complications of family interactions during adverse times, poor decisions and consequences.... In my opinion Sara Baker explores the need to be accepted, peer pressure at all ages, loneliness, self-worth and discovery and growth of the characters. This is a book that makes me reflect on many things, and I would recommend it!
—Anonymous NetGalley Review