James Santel at The Hudson Review:
The handy metaphor for time is a river: the swollen rapid that hurls us forward, or the placid current that rolls along, barely noticed until we find ourselves deposited far downstream. The comparison serves a few purposes. It captures our sense of time as continuous. It assures us of the present’s connection to both past and future, and therefore of our current selves’ connection to the people we have been and the people we will become. Above all, the metaphor confers a teleology upon time, makes a narrative of it. And narrative, of course, implies logic.
By virtue of his vocation, the Spanish author Antonio Muñoz Molina relies on narrative. But in the latest of his novels to appear in English, In the Night of Time(beautifully translated by Edith Grossman), Muñoz Molina is interested not in time’s flow but in its rupture. In the Night of Time fixates on time not as an organizing principle, but rather as a partition that cordons off one period of a life from another with cruel suddenness.