As the collection’s title suggests, time’s passage is the fil rouge of these stories. All of Tabucchi’s characters struggle to find routes of escape from a present that is hard to bear, and from places in which political events have had deeply personal ramifications for their own lives.
Each of the nine stories in Time Ages in a Hurry is an imaginative inquiry into something hidden or disguised, which can be uncovered not by reason but only by feeling and intuition, by what isn’t said. Disquieted and disoriented yet utterly human in their loves and fears, the characters in these vibrant and often playful stories suffer from what Tabucchi once referred to as a “corrupted relationship with history.” Each protagonist must confront phantoms from the past, misguided or false beliefs, and the deepest puzzles of identity–and each in his or her own way ends up experiencing “an infinite sense of liberation, as when finally we understand something we’d known all along and didn’t want to know.”
A pensive, beautifully written meditation on personhood and nationhood in the new age of European unity. […] Many of the characters in this joined collection—something more than short stories but not quite a novel—are stateless and uprooted; they come from somewhere else, and they’re never quite at home where they are. […] A pleasure [...] for fans of modern European literature.
— Kirkus Reviews
Exposing memory for the fiction it is, these wonderful stories produce a melancholic nostalgia even as they undermine it.
— Publishers Weekly
This splendid collection of stories by Antonio Tabucchi, one of Italy's most original and admired writers, is a delight to read. Tabucchi's fertile and offbeat imagination ranges over a broad spectrum of themes—family, aging, war, travel—always approached obliquely, teasing, engaging, and above all rewarding the reader. The translation by Martha Cooley and Antonio Romani is acutely sensitive to the rhythms of Tabucchi's fluid sentences and the uncanny nature of his sensibility.
— Lynne Sharon Schwartz
There is in Tabucchi’s stories the touch of the true magician, who astonishes us by never trying too hard for his subtle, elusive, and remarkable effects.
— The San Francisco Examiner
Tabucchi’s work has an almost palpable sympathy for the oppressed.
— The New York Times
Tabucchi’s prose creates a deep, near-profound and sometimes heart-wrenching nostalgia and constantly evokes the pain of recognizing the speed of life’s passing which everyone knows but few have the strength to accept … Wonderfully thought-provoking and beautiful.
— Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered
Poetic and prophetic… I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories, all having central characters reliving an important, and life changing memory. The reflection upon time and place captured in a melancholic style with depth of clarity around quite simple everyday occurrences.
— Messengers Booker
Each of Tabucchi’s pieces feels like a treasure, a small gift or sweet to be unwrapped gleefully... This was an author who understood that a great part of life is spent not doing but envisioning what one could do and remembering what one has done. Time Ages in a Hurry is a collection that showcases not only Tabucchi’s intelligence but also his wisdom.
— Mia J.P. Gussen, The Harvard Crimson
Tabucchi’s stories in Time Ages in a Hurry are careful, nuanced, and smartly skeptical of memory and experience.
— A. N. Devers, Longreads
As with all fine writers, it is remarkable how the same themes surface effortlessly in Tabucchi’s work even when the material is quite new. In particular there is an engaging dialogue between two Italians under sunshades on a Croatian beach: a sick man in his forties and a precocious young girl... The entire conversation unfolds with great charm, playfulness, and decorum in a summery Mediterranean haze. It is a welcome return to Tabucchi at his best.
— Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books
Tabucchi presumes, as only a masterly writer can, to peer in on a core... History, personal or collective, weighs on everyone in these stories, sculpting their inner lives. And yet, Tabucchi suggests, an unlikely transcendence is possible.
— Philip Graham, Fiction Writers Review
Poignant, philosophical... Tabucchi has done the seemingly impossible with this collection: in an era of fast-paced plots, Tabucchi’s characters, language, and very form force readers to pause and reflect on one small, powerful moment. It’s a pleasure each step of the way.
— Laura Farmer, The Gazette
Fluid and airy... Contemplative and without affection, these stories would be well accompanied by a wistful gaze out a window – an enjoyable memento mori on a warm summer day which will soon fade into all the others.
— Ruairí Casey, Totally Dublin
...rich, well balanced, understated, and beautiful.
— John Toren, Rain Taxi Review of Books
I found myself cheered by [Tabucchi's] rich, occlusive writing, filled with flecks of gold, panning the river bottom of our lives, finding here and there scintillating bits, some deviously interesting characters, all deftly laid out on the page.
— Lolita Lark, RALPH Magazine
Tabucchi, forever returning to the well of saudade—that resonant Portuguese term for nostalgia—might line up most closely with W.G. Sebald, trying to read significance in the rubble of Holocausts large and small. Wherever we place this author, though, Time Ages In a Hurry must rank as one of his signal accomplishments.
— John Domini, Brooklyn Rail