Lost in Time by Hans Magnus Enzensberger;
Henry Holt and Company: New York, 2000; $18
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel in time? And have you ever wondered what problems you might encounter and what the consequences might be? In Lost in Time Robert finds out all these things and more as he wades deeper and deeper into history and lands himself in more trouble than he could ever imagine in his wildest dreams.
It all starts when Robert rubs his eyes while watching TV and opens them in 1956 Siberia. Accused of being a German spy, he has many adventures there before being transported to 1946 Australia through a movie screen. This happens seven times and by the time he is a painter’s apprentice in 1621 Holland, Robert is beginning to doubt he will ever get back to the present, his friends, family and life. That is, until he comes up with a miraculous and ingenious idea to get him back home. To find out what happens you’ll have to read the book.
Every time Robert travels to a different time period the story changes a little and so does Robert. He begins to know what to expect and even learns new things about history and himself. The story is sometimes a mystery, like when Robert puzzles over what’s going on in Soviet Russia, sometimes adventure, like when Robert joins a band of thieves in 1638 Germany, sometimes romantic, like when Robert meets his first girlfriend Caroline in Australia, and sometimes it is historical, like when Robert pieces together his surroundings in a new time and the reader learns about what life was like back then.
The saddest part is when Robert must leave his girlfriend Caroline in another time. The most exciting part is when Robert joins the army in 1638—a war he has only read about in history textbooks. Personally, I don’t have a favorite part—I enjoyed the entire thing! Time travel has always interested me and I found it entertaining when Robert had to explain things like calculators to people who lived in the eighteenth century! At times I was annoyed at the mistakes Robert made; like mentioning television to someone before it had even been invented, but when I thought hard about it, I realized I would make the same mistakes too! How would you manage being zapped in time with no idea of where you would be next or more importantly, when you would be next?!
I would highly recommend this great book to anyone aged ten and up or for any strong reader.