This month we discussed “Time and Time Again” by Ben Elton

Four members of the group were absent this month, so the meeting was small.

Opinions of the book varied greatly; 3 of us loved it, a couple didn’t finish it, and others found it hard to get into. Those that read it agreed that the plot was such that it made you think ……

Several people commented that it was not like Ben Elton’s other books, and not the type of book that you would expect him to write. (He is an English comedian and comedy playwright.)

The character of Professor McCluskey was disliked by all who read the book. In the early part of the book she appears as a rather comical eccentric, but as the plot unfolds we discover her sinister side.

We all thought that Katie’s world was particularly unpleasant and we would not want to live in it.

Some people thought that the plot was credible – “After all – anything is possible” but many of us thought that it was implausible. The behaviour of the characters within the plot was believable.

We discussed what we would miss most if we lived in 1914 – shampoo, cleaning products and antibiotics. Someone pointed out that food would have tasted better in 1914 as it wouldn’t contain additives.

Several people were disappointed by the ending of the book, hoping for a more positive outcome for Stanton; wanting him to have gone back to Cambridge.

We talked about other time travel books and the First World War.

One of our members read out several of her poems on the subject of War, which fitted in nicely with the theme of the meeting.

Next month we are reading Magda Szubanski’s autobiography – Reckoning


In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.