LOST IN TIME by Hans Magnus Enzensberger


Age Range: 11 - 13
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Enzensberger (Number Devil, 1998) sends a German teenager on a long, strange trip into the past that promises more than it delivers. Watching TV one afternoon, Robert rubs his eyes and suddenly finds himself shivering in 1956 Siberia. This is only the first of seven journeys that take him from an Australian movie set in 1946 to a clash between communists and Nazis in 1930 Germany. There are encounters with a suicidal Swedenborgian mystic in 1860, a flirtatious German princess in 1702, on to a battle in the Thirty Years War, and finally the studio of an early 17th-century Amsterdam painter. Along the way he occasionally meets a thinly disguised historical figure, picks up the rudiments of fencing, painting, and various languages, escapes several dangerous situations, and gets an insider’s view of life in past ages. But he also finds shelter and friendship with suspicious ease; despite pervasive hints of an overall purpose to his journey, he arrives back in his own time neither older (though two subjective years have passed) nor much wiser than when he set out. Thankfully, he carries home physical evidence to show that it wasn’t all a dream, but it’s not a particularly meaningful odyssey either, and readers will be left with more questions than answers. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6571-7
Page count: 344pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000