'From Time to Time' Author Finney

By Maria Ricapito
Updated February 24, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

From Time to Time

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”You write a book, and you don’t expect it to hang around,” says Jack Finney. Yet the author’s Time and Again, published by Simon & Schuster, has become a major cult success, remaining in print continuously since 1978. ”I don’t know if I’m surprised,” says the Bay Area octogenarian. ”I’m certainly pleased.”

Finney’s love for the past is evident in his books’ extensive historic detail (he researched the 1880s and the pre-World War I era by reading magazines and newspapers of the time), but it’s not nostalgia. ”I hate when people accuse me of that,” he says. ”Nostalgia has a kind of unhealthy quality. But curiosity is good. I can’t imagine anyone having the chance to go back in time and not taking it.”

Robert Redford is just one of the many who share Finney’s time-travel bug. Universal has optioned Time and Again for him to star in and possibly direct. And he is not the first to be interested in bringing the book to theatrical life: Paul Newman and Universal held the option in ’77; the Broadway musical version of the novel reportedly being developed may hit the stage in ’96.

Despite all the past has given him, though, Finney feels it has its limits. ”There’s no past time I’d like to stay in,” he says. ”I want to stay here permanently.” At this rate, it looks like he just might.

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