On the second to last day of summer school in 1984, Calvin and Jason Schott hijack a school bus carrying nineteen students, an unthinkable act of violence that devastates the community of Brookwood. Thirty years later, twin sisters and survivors of the ordeal, Brenda and Emily Mashburn, are forced to relive the kidnapping as they film a documentary about the event in an attempt to thwart Calvin’s looming parole hearing. Meanwhile, Jason fights for his brother’s release, hoping that a reunited family can finally bring peace to their elderly mother and ease the guilt he feels over his role in the kidnapping. The result is a feud between the two families, with neither side willing to back down.
Inspired by the largest kidnapping-for-ransom scheme in American history, Time Will Break the World weaves a rich backdrop of place and circumstance—long-term trauma, dysfunctional family legacies, sibling rivalry, a granite quarry, and the Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
"Aaron Jacobs’ Time Will Break the World nails that sweet spot between page turner and page gripper. You get swept up in the harrowing story of the Brookwood bus children, their captors, and their community. But the sentences also stun you into not wanting to read on too quickly, so you can say them under your breath, feel the rhythm in your jaw. Even more, this electrifying novel makes you want to do your homework. Sleuth out where the imagined threads divert from the lived ones; bear witness to how Jacobs makes fiction out of the absurd and the hurt of the real world." - Gene Kwak, author of Go Home, Ricky
"In Time Will Break the World, Aaron Jacobs presents a dynamic, kaleidoscopic portrait of a historic school bus kidnapping of nineteen children and its lasting effects on all the players, victims and perpetrators alike. This is an electric polyvocal novel, expertly told." - Sara Lippmann, author of LECH and Jerks
"Aaron Jacobs writes like he’s playing the guitar. He knows the skill is building melody around the hook. The set up is clear early in Time Will Break the World and Jacobs deftly weaves multiple characters and decades-apart settings around that central point. 1984 is brought vividly back from the present day but this is no nostalgia trip. This is a compelling, often disturbing story about young lives interrupted and never truly restarted, and how memory can be chosen or imposed, the bemusement of being both a child and an adult who has forgotten they ever were, let alone that ten-year-old victim of a life-defining trauma."–Tom McCulloch, author of The Accidental Recluse
"Time Will Break the World is a big broken Big Ben of a book, and Aaron Jacobs captures the ticking time bomb at the sore core of forgiving and forgetting, of living and let living. He is a master horologist whose relentless bejeweled prose unwinds and rewinds every arrhythmic ache at the relentlessly syncopated heart of this packed and unpacked wounded wound of a story." - Michael Martone author of Plain Air: Sketches from Winesburg, Indiana