Catching Up

Even Peter Pan in Neverland can’t escape the haunting of time. As the Pirates, Indians, and Lost Boys fight their never-ending battles, it is the ticking crocodile clock that provides the real terror—the possibility, or inevitability, that at some point, even in Neverland, time will catch them all.

For Ahrens, time is kept not by crocodile but by technology—the strange sounds of the recording monster that she found on her family’s kitchen table; the satisfying clicks of the typewriter keys; the switchboard that she sat in front of as she worked her way through college. The machines are doorways leading her into stories and into the moving hands of her clock, which will, and do, outpace her. Solving the puzzle of each technological mystery becomes intertwined with navigating her course—the fear of unknown buttons and windows, the glitches discovered that seem insurmountable. “Type A” presents us with the same inevitable fate that Wendy learns too, suddenly grown-up and back from Neverland: that despite any effort to keep up, we are always outpaced, and the best we can hope for is to capture the past—through ancient reels of tape-recorded dinner-table conversations, through stories, through essays—if we can’t keep up with the future.

—Rebecca Kaden

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