When Conrad Sands returns a wristwatch to an old flame after 20 years apart, a remarkable chain of events begins.
The watch passes through the hands of a gold-digger, a journalist, an enchantress and a professor. It touches the lives of a rogue art collector, a domestic helper, and an environmental campaigner. It influences a reverend's apprentice, a kept wife, and a self-made man. All of them are strangers, yet all are intricately linked in ways that none of them see.
A deeply thought-provoking debut novel from Starr Wood, "Once Upon a Timepiece" is a gripping portrayal of humanity's relationship with time and the unseen threads of history that bind us together. Told through a series of twelve inter-connected short stories, it explores memory and regret, ambition and weakness, and the texture of time that lies behind all our lives.
Once Upon a Timepiece by Starr Wood was published by Bo Tree Books on 29 November 2013.
The timepiece of the title is a Breitling Chronomat watch, made in 1946 and beautifully crafted from rose gold - elegant and expensive, and is the connecting link between each of the twelve short stories that make up this clever and thought-provoking book.
I certainly didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. Short stories can often be a big disappointment, I often think that they are either rushed or just have something missing. But not these, this is a collection of twelve very cleverly written, entertaining tales that deliver a massive punch with every end sentence.
The twelve stories are named after the months of the year. In January we meet Conrad Sands who has been the owner of the watch for twenty years. He's decided that it is time to return the watch to an old flame whose memory has haunted him, and this is the beginning of the watch's journey. The watch comes into the possession of people from all walks of life, all nationalities and each of them come by it in a different way.
Tricksters, thieves, rich, poor - the watch has a selection of owners, and each of them have their own story to tell.
Human nature is foremost in these stories that explore feelings and memories, regret and weakness and triumph and pride - almost every human trait is explored with writing that is almost perfect, and characters that are so well developed using so few words.
Once Upon a Timepiece is a real triumph for this young author, it is so difficult to believe that this is his debut, and I can't wait to read whatever he is dreaming up next.
My thanks to Ginny from Bo Tree Books who sent my copy for review.
Starr Wood is a British journalist, writer and economist. He was born in England in 1970, but grew up in Nigeria, Ras Al Khaimah, South Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan. In 1992, Starr graduated from the London School of Economics and began his career as a journalist working for a variety of news media in London and the Middle East. Since 1999, he has worked at The Economist Group, first in London, and then in Asia. Today, he lives in Singapore with his wife and three children.
For more about Starr Wood, visit: www.onceuponatimepiece.com