Paradigm-destroying ... Grand, eclectic, wide-ranging ... Odell’s undertaking is massive and ambitious ... Sometimes, in her race to gather all of this information together, Odell elides narrative inconveniences or leaves things unexplained ... But singling out any specific moment in this book feels like a betrayal of the whole. The narrative logic is purposefully meandering and elliptical ... She doesn’t provide answers or policies for how; that’s not her project. But she has opened up a space between the present and the future in which it might be possible.
The book is ambitious, expansive, meandering, acute; it helps explain how a person, hoping to reclaim her hours and days, might come to outsource the software of her body to the hardware on her wrist ... Time is a difficult subject to write about, in large part because of its status as both invention and inevitability. It lends itself to yawning adages ... But Saving Time, an effusive blend of philosophy, memoir, and cultural criticism, treats those truisms as starting points rather than as conclusions: It explores how they shape our assumptions, and how those assumptions came to be ... Saving Time is a frustrating book precisely because it is an insightful one.
A subtle, itinerant study of time ... There are gaps: Odell doesn’t look at ideas of time in antiquity, which, through miracles of preservation and transmission, survived like so many fragments of ancient seafloor. Nor is religion...considered ... Nonetheless a joy.
In Saving Time, with moss as muse, Odell deepens her approach and amplifies her pitch ... Odell approaches these matters with acute sensitivity and feeling. And yet a larger question persists. Why does a book so concerned with the looming issues of our day, and possessed of such an urgent authorial voice, feel like such a time sink? ... Odell marches us along, gesturing to choppy outlines of the books she consults to piece together the story. Her own thinking feels curiously muted ... Her collages produce not surprise or poignance but a sense of cutting and pasting, of breathless summary ... Why is this book about time in such a hurry? ... Perhaps her hope is to rush past the fact that so many of her observations are commonplaces ... As I read, I told myself that some hidden seams would surely be discovered, fresh evidence brought forth, complacencies unravelled ... Instead, we are led down a path of truisms to a well-padded account of how the capitalist logic of increase squeezes dignity from our days ... A book of hectic history and dutiful structural analysis, every sentence turtled against the arrows of social critique ... It is not an unusual experience to feel that one’s time has been misused by a book, but it is novel, and particularly vexing, to feel that one’s time has been misused by a passionate denunciation of the misuse of time ... Very often, problems of style and pacing are actually problems of thinking, and here is where one difficulty of Saving Time lies. Odell is working with ideas that demand careful, persuasive articulation ... Instead, we receive a relentless synthesis of other people’s work ... The absence of original thought is striking, suggestive.
A meticulously researched, mentally stimulating scurry down the time-and-space rabbit hole ... Explores its titular subject from every possible angle ... Many of the hypotheses Odell brings forth are nothing new ... Don’t get me wrong; Odell’s rehashing of these often debated topics doesn’t make the book any less constructive or worthy of readers’ attention ... It’s dense. Odell’s style leans heavily toward stream of consciousness and making high-level, rapid-fire connections that can take a beat to follow, so jump around if you must. But take it all in. As with many things in life, the book is worth savoring — even if it takes you a while to complete.
She attempts to give us tools to leave these conceptions of time behind. It’s an ambitious project that takes on time-management self-help, climate nihilism, our fear of dying and the grind of corporate life, ultimately asking us to see time itself through different lenses ... Neither a self-help guide to time management nor a robust cultural history of productivity. It ends up falling somewhere in between ... Form and content come together: If Odell wants us to see time anew, she’s doing her best to show us what that might look like, how one moment is intimately connected to many others. The book becomes more collage than polemic, bringing many fragments together to see what emerges ... Not to say that Saving Time is under-researched — in fact, it may have the opposite problem. Odell is a wide-ranging reader, and her writing bounces from citation to citation, sometimes in the service of questions that, while generative, can feel tangential ... Her writing relies on so many overlapping frameworks of thinking that it lacks the focus we need to understand what exactly we might do differently ... Odell has woven a wide-ranging tapestry of scholars, activists and artists, adding her own experience. But if you want to figure out what it all means for you, you’ll have to do that on your own time.
In addition to providing a history on how the traditional clock came to be, Odell chronicles how the clock has mutated and multiplied, ensuring that every aspect of our days is carefully cataloged and controlled ... Little of what Odell argues is provocative ... Helpful tools ... While I appreciate these academic frameworks, it is at points frustrating to read about how our time has been stolen from us without being offered any tangible solutions. Odell addresses this absence, though does not dwell on it ... At times I yearned for her to push readers more aggressively in the direction of the only historically proven method to achieving the large-scale political and economic changes she alluded to being necessary: revolt.
Odell makes an affecting case for an elongated present, though I would like to have heard more about the 'temporal weirdness' she felt during the pandemic ... A survey of how different societies have conceived of time felt too brief, given that it fits well with her case for humility in a world that seems to know which direction it is moving in with such confidence.
While the book never quite matches the novelty of her first, bestselling How to Do Nothing, it ultimately offers something just as valuable: time to think ... It seems obvious that Odell is shying away from some of Saving Time’s biggest questions. While Odell writes in the introduction that she wrote the book to save her own life amid the despair of ecological catastrophe, she never seems quite confident enough to take the logical next step—analyzing the threat climate change poses to human conceptions of the future ... In any other era, such a book might be a real waste. Saving Time is neither particularly intellectually incisive nor especially beautifully written ... But in an era when discourse is defined by the length of a tweet or a TikTok video, extended explorations of important ideas—and the ideas in Odell’s book are important—can offer something more important than novelty: room for reflection, even disagreement.
Saving Time proves that no one can do Odell like Odell ... A fascinating book to read during the recent rise in labor organizing ... Saving Time is not a list of flat aphorisms about mindfulness, nor is it a screed. Rather, it’s a carefully constructed vision of hope with meaningful advice that will linger.
A rigorous, wide-ranging examination ... This book, featuring denser prose and more academic subject matter, is not as approachable as How To Do Nothing, but it will reward readers who pay close attention ... An erudite investigation of our culture’s understanding of time.
An electric call to reject the quantitative view of time in favor of a more expansive, less linear understanding that fosters interpersonal connection and social and ecological justice ... This is a moving and provocative game changer.