A mysterious visitor comes to see three desperate human beings: an astronomer in his prison cell the night before his execution for the ultimate heresy; a paleolinguist with a wasted life behind her who has been forgotten by everybody in her dusty basement office; an old watchmaker with a dark, painful spot in his past that has haunted him for decades. The visitor has a unique but ambiguous time-gift for each one of them. His true identity is known only by an artist locked up in her asylum atelier. In Time-Gifts, Zoran Zivkovic weaves these encounters around philosophical questions at the core of human existence. The stranger appears in the cell of the astronomer and, through a glance at the future, offers the prisoner a choice: repentance of his scientific theories and physical survival or the immortality granted one who dies for his beliefs. The stranger next visits a paleolinguist who has been forgotten by her university and who despairs of ever knowing the validity of her theories -- until given a chance at time travel. Next, the stranger visits a simple watchmaker who works literally at the center of time yet has never pondered its possibilities. The aged man is offered the rarest of gifts -- a second chance -- but at a terrible price. In the final chapter, the true nature of the visitor is revealed by an insane artist, but who would believe an artist in this world, even if she were not insane? Provocative, dizzying in its implications, Time-Gifts is a meditation on the nature of time as well as on the nature of the human beings at its mercy.
Used availability for Zoran Zivkovic's Time Gifts
July 2000 : USA Hardback
August 2000 : USA Paperback