Book Jacket


rank 432
word count 15979
date submitted 13.08.2010
date updated 11.07.2011
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Comedy
classification: universal

That Time is Past

Bia Talgo

When Isabella vanishes in an Italian fishing village the two prime suspects are Shelley and Byron. Except both have been dead for 200 years.


The other suspects:
Ivan, narcissistic Shelley biographer, on the run from his wife

Felix, alcoholic film star, recently acquitted of rape.

Jake the penniless bipolar busker and self-confessed rake.

Magnus, the priestly sculptor who is restoring a medieval papier-mâché Virgin Mary
Rufus, celebrity photographer and inveterate name dropper

Gavin, the unscrupulous paparazzo

A novel about men and their deadly romantic projections on the female image.

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fastlegtheory wrote 98 days ago

Hi. Read all of this you got posted (16k) and despite not thinking I was gonna like it, I bleedin well did. Still a bit wordy in places and needs a less-is-more polish, but has a good rhythm and an agreeably jaded style befitting world weary ex-pats on the Riviera. Decent premise (girl goes missing) and interesting characters developing.

"Men who think they have all the answers generally don't ask very interesting questions" - Yup, sure nuff

"Women are biology at it's most intractable and ruthless" - You ain't wrong there, missus...

Now the Romantics ain't really my thing (blame Wordsworth) but I guess you're maybe setting up some kind of parallel Shelly story here or something which could be a lot of fun. I like your writing (once you've pared it back a touch) and this has a lot of potential. Good stuff.

Anyroad, it's all subjective and you're the captain...

Watched and Starved

Dah! I now see that you ain't done nuffink on this in yonks. You got any more? Has it fallen by the wayside? Have you won the lottery? Can you lend me some money?

glot wrote 318 days ago

five stars

verily Wish wrote 330 days ago

Backed that Time is Past. A great beginning to a very interesting Whodunit. Several twists and turns keeps the plot suspenseful. Good lluck.

Percy Bysshe 0 wrote 358 days ago

Was attracted to this by the fact of there being a shelley biographer in it. Have really enjoyed what I've read. It's both playful and lyrical and wistful.

Seringapatam wrote 415 days ago

Bia, I liked this a lot. I see what Abby has recorded below and she has a point, there is something that doesnt fit with the narrative. With that aside I actually enjoyed it. I can see a little repair work and edit and this is well on the way to doing well. I wish you luck and I will be watching with interest to see how you do.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Many thanks. Sean

Abby Vandiver wrote 585 days ago

I love the concept of this story. This is one of my favorite kinds of subjects. The narrative though is very tedious, filled with verbosity and sesquipedalianism (see what I mean). It distacts from the flow and the combination of words are at times questionable, awkward, and nonsensical. The dialogue, however is very good. It has a good flow, is very informative and enjoyable. I like that the bald head girl was something more than she seemed to the others in the story.

Good start.


Sue Harries wrote 625 days ago

added to WL and rated, will back as soon as space on shelf. Very enjoyable read.
'It's a Dog's Life'

Keith Gilbey wrote 637 days ago

Early days - but like what I've read so far.Good stars!


Tod Schneider wrote 664 days ago

Great opening chapter! The snake scene was a good attention getter, and the woman in red certainly is intriguing. You wrap up the chapter with a good hook, keeping us curious about where you might be going with this. Well put together. Best of luck with this!

femmefranglaise wrote 666 days ago

Hi Bia, I've really enjoyed what I've read. You write beautifully. The plot is intriguing and the characters well developed. I hope you will upload more as I'd really like to see where this story goes. The only thing I'd change is the word 'epileptic' at the beginning as I don't think it really sits well in the narrative.

Lots of stars and all the best with this.

La Vie en Rosé

Andrew Esposito wrote 666 days ago

Viola, I reviewed the first few chapters of That Time is Passed and found it an engaging read. The opening scene of the mating snakes is vivid, if not a little wordy. I liked your imagery throughout the novel eg 'like a ropetrick' and especially 'probing tendril of light'.

I think there is a need for some simplification eg: 'acquired visual status' to possibly 'could be seen' and perhaps the removal of 'choreography of coercion and resistance'. I thought your characters were interesting, I really liked the plot of combining the present and past centuries and the tie in to Byron and Shelly. It is reminiscent to me of the multi facetted The Hours and Mrs. Dalloway/Virginia Woolf.

Initially I did get a little confused about 'which' Shelley was being portrayed. I assume it is the poet, Percy, as he did drown. I think you should consider rewording the sentence '... Shelley's boat... we saw nothing more of her...' - as had me wondering if it was Mary that drowned!

Viola, I think your writing is lyrical and I enjoyed the many visuals of the sea and harsh coastline. I've given That Time is Passed high stars. Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

lancaster v wrote 677 days ago

the snakes are good.

Wanttobeawriter wrote 681 days ago

This is an easy to read story. The beginning is dramatic with the description of the snakes. And I’m usually not crazy about prologues which don’t give character names, just describe “a girl” or a “a man”, as it makes it much harder for a reader to relate to nameless people, but here it seems to work (I would have liked you to give her age, tho; I thought she was much younger because you call her a girl; only at the end because she lit up a cigarette did I realize she must be at least 16. The way you introduce your main characters in the next chapter is equally well done. As I said, it’s an easy read. Highly starred and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

donkeyjacket wrote 685 days ago

Bia (or Viola?) Backed this some time ago: meant to get in touch - but life got in the way. This is seriously grown up writing - and that's just the bottom line. It is also intriguing, colourful, scholarly, well contrived in both plot and execution (I mean in the way in which you write it - although I expect you could have expressed that without resorting to exposition!)
I bow in obeisance and try not to drool too much in admiration . All hail - may it climb higher and higher.

fatema wrote 693 days ago

It is writtien in a very casual style. Different, a good book. Your cover well matched with your 1st chapter discription of Olive grove, up, step path.

Oh i like that dialogue; takling is invented, so people can lie.

Lucy Pizey wrote 713 days ago

Brilliant - loving this. Recommended by Nick Goulding on my Forum about writers you'd want to go for a drink with.
Lucy Pizey
The Split

Lara wrote 726 days ago

I've backed this because I love the characters, especially Sadie. You haven't uploaded much but I've enjoyed what there is. The premise is strong and there is some depth of intent shown in e.g. Ch 6.

Personally, I would work a bit harder on the opening sequence. How about opening on a more powerful description of the snakes and draw back to show your first character witnessing the struggle?


Atieno wrote 740 days ago

Wow, I am lost for words!this is amazingly smart! the writng is very beautiful! Description is out of the world!
Well done!

Laurence Howard wrote 753 days ago

The opening paragraph is masterful. It is an intriguing story with well constructive narrative and skillful dialogue.
Backed with pleasure.
Laurence Howard,
The Cross of Goa

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 753 days ago

Dear Viola

I have read three chapters of "That Time Is Past" this evening, a beautifully textured, multi-layered read. Your descriptive passages are faultless - which is the British way of saying, they are excellent. Textured, atmospheric and exact. Very impressive.

Your characters are teasingly ambiguous, well drawn and inscrutible. Writing this rich and well observed must take time to get right.

Very well done indeed!

All the best

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped" xx :)

Bill Carrigan wrote 791 days ago

Hello, Viola. Thank you very much for backing The Doctor of Summitville. I hope you'll read it through and enjoy it. Finished three chapters of That Time Is Past but was distracted and will have to start over. My first impression is that the characters and action are intriguing. I want to know them better, especially the bald girl in red. --Gratefully, Bill

Nick Goulding wrote 825 days ago

This is still a favourite of mine on Authonomy. I'm happy to keep 'That Time is Past' on my shelf and just wish others would do likewise and raise the profile of this lovely story. Great characterisation. I'd like to see this published and in film. Sumptuous writing.
'Where She Lies'

AliB wrote 841 days ago

Hello Viola
Sorry it’s taken so long to read your book. I’ve now read to ch3 and really like it. It feels literary in a way that’s assured rather than selfconscious and has a good ‘flow’. I particularly like how the thrashing snakes are mirrored in the scene by the boat – very nicely done!
At this point I don’t feel I have a real grasp of any of the characters (except, despite his very brief appearance, Felix) and haven’t found a home for my sympathy as a reader. I don’t get a feeling for Jake at all (wondering if it might be more interesting to start with Ivan?) and assume Melissa is deliberately enigmatic, but I do get a feel for the story being set up with plenty of inherent conflicts and would be happy to continue reading. I also think it fits the literary genre and market (Barnes/McEwan/Amis?) very well. For the record here are a few things that didn’t work for me.
Ch 1 – ‘carried very attentively’ – weak use of adverb – how about changing the verb – ‘cradled’?
‘ticking of clocks/ broken heirlooms’ – too many images at once, liked the clocks but not the heirlooms
The meeting on the carousel feels too sudden – might Jake have noticed it earlier or seen someone going in?
Ch 3 – ‘drew in thin top lip’ – used twice and I think of different people.
Thanks for an interesting read. Backed.
A Kettle of Fish

JoMount wrote 937 days ago

Your characters are strong and well drawn. You use all the senses well to draw us into the scene. You avoid obvious hooks but lead the reader in using subtle hints at a drama unfolding around us. After reading the scene with the two snakes I wondered which characters might be sliding round each other and would look for such interactions as I read on. A very intriguing and carefully written work. I would place a few commas at certain points but I know they seem to be going out of fashion.

mgk wrote 976 days ago

two phrases that won me over -- "a smile which she then licked away" (but I would have deleted the which) and "pictures were like the sounds Jake imagined men who wore lots of gold might make when having sex." That made me want to imagine it. A good gift for making the words become reality. Good descriptions of sense things -- smells, textures, voice sounds...
I sometimes became lost as to where the characters were physically, but often that became irrelevant. I enjoyed the sporadic humor. These characters really related to each other and I felt I was part of them. Some tense problems but that will be cleared up with an edit reading.

Red2u wrote 987 days ago

I read the first two chapters. The writing is very descriptive. I did find the word she confused me a couple of times as I wasn't sure who she was referring to so I went back and re-read, otherwise a great storyline.

Wolf DeVoon wrote 990 days ago

WL'd on my list to read and comment in the near future.

katie78 wrote 991 days ago

i read your opening chapter and really enjoyed it. you set the scene with gorgeous visual details. and just when i started to feel like your description had gone far enough and i needed something to happen- you gave some interesting dialogue. well done.

i think you should break the first paragraph in two at "then she realized".

you're missing some commas.

two words in your opening paragraph sounded wrong:
how do you carry something 'attentively'? how does something make a 'fidgeting' noise?

i loved the description of the mating snakes and the subtle way this is echoed with the couple at the boat. your writing has a moody rhythm to it. thanks for the read.

Andi Brown wrote 1016 days ago

Hi Bia,

This is really well done. You've created some indelible characters and I've only read two chapters. Your writing is lyrical with a sense of mystery. I'm very intrigued to know more. I don't know why you call it a comedy, though. I didn't find much cause for laughter. Not a problem with the book, only its characterization.

I'm giving you a very rare five stars and wishing you all the best.

Andi Brown
Animal Cracker

mansfield M wrote 1022 days ago

This has a romantic once-upon-a-time feel to it filtered through a contemporary sensibility and is thus engaging. Good characterisation - I was quickly interested in your people.

xavant wrote 1028 days ago

Bia, I've read the first three chapters of your book and like them. A well-handled atmosphere of mystery; a nice fusion of the Shelley-mystery past and vanishing-girl present; and a colourful running-stitch with the romantic clothes. Also some believable male characters (I mention this because women's fictional men and men's fictional women so often ring false).
I have some minor points of criticism:
For me the snake copulation scene at the very beginning is way too long - I think you can tighten it considerably.
'The waves, producing a vanishing flurry of silvery glitter when they curled into efflorescence...' Flurry, glitter and efflorescence are competing too much and fuzzing the picture.
'The sculptor's handshake was surprisingly feckless..' Feckless handshake? Feckless, meaning irresponsible, is normally used as a moral judgement and reads oddly here.
'Prolonging every syllable for all it was worth...' For all it was worth is weak, a cliche that adds nothing. You can just cut it.
'Tight black curls cleaving to his scalp...' Again, if the curls are tight, you don't need cleaving to his scalp.
But these, and a few others, aren't important and are easily fixed.
In the belief that you have an intriguing story developing, I am backing this with five stars.
That Certain Feeling

Nick Goulding wrote 1041 days ago

'That Time is Past'
The cover and pitch drew me in, rather like a character list for a play but it worked. I was intrigued, as a man, by the 'deadly romantic projections on the female image'. Your characters are well sculpted and believable and it was easy to empathise and distance oneself appropriately. You generally bring them out by showing rather than telling, good choice.
You have a light touch with description - just enough and then the dialogue takes the action forward. I had to re-read the first two paras of ch 2 as the image in my head was of Jake reading the book in sunlight but then we get the lighthouse beam at the end.
'Behind an uncertain air of amusing himself the American seemed touchingly diffident' seemed a little overly complex and I worked at unpacking this - perhaps show the traits separately?
Initially I had the image of the pale boy with blond hair sitting on the porcelain pony as a young boy but then re-adjusted it to a young man as he held a bottle of wine.
The relationship between Erin and Magnus is a rich source for exploration and I feel there would be value in developing this theme even more.
So far I have really enjoyed this and want to see how it resolves. It feels like a story that would transcribe well into a t.v./film script - very visual with strong characters. Well done!
'Where She Lies'

miranda botticelli wrote 1054 days ago

Read two chapters and really enjoyed them. Good characterisation especially and descriptive writing always has a nice flourish to it.

ShebaDiva2 wrote 1055 days ago

I am really caught up in the story after three chapters. You balance description and dialogue very well. All the characters are clearly defined and they are quirky and fallible. I love the sculptor and his muse - such an odd unfathomable relationship; you leave us wanting to hear more. There is subtlety in how you handle the missing woman - it is referred to here and there in a tantalising manner.
My only slight issue is with the local accent, it is necessary to portray the locale but it can be a little aggravating. A constant problem with books set abroad or with a strong regional accent. You have probably got the balance right here. Super work, thank you.
Overall, an excellent intriguing start and I can't wait to see how it all evolves.

Sten wrote 1057 days ago

She turned onto her back and, as if accidentally, let her hand brush his naked
waist. Her hand she then let rest on the sheet close to his thigh and could feel
through the mattress the pulsating dictatorship of his body's desire.

The repetition of 'her hand' at the start of the second sentence is a bit odd
yes? And the syntax generally.

I am quite fond of dear Felix.

"Jake, feeling the effect of the drug begin to quicken his pulse, felt strangely
attracted to the brooding solitary boy.

See? Gayness! Gayness!

"Unable to swim, he was also unable, when he tried to imagine it, of rowing her
or anyone else in a boat for fear of the vessel capsizing" - "He was also unable
of rowing?" I think he means incapable or something.

So far I don't really see a problem with Ivan and Isabella, assuming of course
that Ivan is meant to be coming off as a completely moronic self involved
asshole. But you are perhaps right that his internal monologues go on to long.
I'd honestly just cut them down a bit as they don't have much real content do

I think the first half may be funnier than the second half?

"I was sick and tired of occupying the moral high ground," said Ivan. - It's
cute how he stalks and molests Isabella and thinks he has the moral highground.
But my previous remark about them still stands.

Erin and Magnus don't really feature much after the opening scenes. I think
they're both intriguing so maybe we could use a little more of them?

Jed Oliver wrote 1058 days ago

Intriguing. Captured my interest immediately. You have a very nice touch. Backed. Best regards, Jedward (French Roast and Lingerie), (The Hill)

Su Dan wrote 1060 days ago

this has good flow and reafs well: this is a type of book that may become a classic over time...
l have backed.
6 stars******
read SEASONS...

Primrose Hill wrote 1069 days ago

Viola, I'm sorry it took me so long to start reading That Time is Past. I have just been enjoying your first two chapters and only topped to leave some notes.
Very strong opening - intriguing image, suggestive, sets up questions. The scene with the two snakes reads like a foreshadowing (of the murder perhaps). I found it rather complicated, and thought perhaps you could clarify by simplifying it a little. Otherwise - great opening chapter. Atmospheric and intriguing.

In ch. 2, you could look out for slight POV ambiguity between Jake and Magnus. And at the end of the second para. I was surprised to find it was night. Perhaps as you opened the chapter with 'Today'. Also, perhaps get into the first chapter that we are in Jake's POV, as the reader will assume it it is still Erin's from the previous chapter. I have been guilty of the same thing in my own, book, which, as you know has switching POV.

Altogether a promising story with hints that things are not quite as straight forward as they seem. You very quickly get into the conflicts. Already by ch.2 we have an abduction, two suspects, a possible love triangle, rivalries and complex artistic personalities. I look forward to reading on.

Highly starred and will comment further.

CSmith wrote 1077 days ago

I was immediately sold by your pitch - and your characters are really captivating. They each have their little "ticks", which I love. I keep coming across too many characters that have been done before. Your descriptions of the scenery are great too. I like how you take your time when you're describing the scene - something I think too many people rush over. Definitely backed!


Nigel Fields wrote 1211 days ago

That Time is Past has thoroughly impressed me so far. I was drawn in by the pitch, pulled futher by the first chapter, reveled in the second. I'm sure I will continue to enjoy this. I have you starred and on my WL for now, as I want to be loyal to those on my shelf for a reasonable period. But I will come back for this. Very nice.
John Campbell/Nigel Fields
Walk to Paradise Garden

ccb1 wrote 1220 days ago

Backed that Time is Past. A great beginning to a very interesting Whodunit. Several twists and turns keeps the plot
suspenseful. Good lluck. Hope you will find time to look at our book, Dark Side.
CC Brown

J.S.Watts wrote 1221 days ago

A mysterious and atmospheric opening followed by a cast of colourful characters and events. This has much to recommend it.


Beccy Blount wrote 1238 days ago

Greetings, Orlando recommended I have a read. backed because of the snakes!

Closet Writer wrote 1245 days ago

I'd love to back "The Time is Past" as soon as I can. I'll star it for now.

SC Dwinnell, "Never Let Him Go"

karien wrote 1245 days ago

What a wonderful mysterious first chapter. I'll try and make time to read more.
Karien - A Bird in a Pram

Orlando Furioso wrote 1246 days ago

Ch 2
I very much like it that she of the once-upon-a-time dress won a round of applause. What cld be bette for any artist ... a hat load of dosh AND applause! Bravo. I like this bald perfomer.
Jake is like some Harry Potter who grew up and took off. I envy him. Though he feels like a character in a story, trying to be interesting. But hell, he's making a better job of it than I ever did.
Magnus is ... ach! We feel THAT handshake and that you want us to not like him. We like him even less when he orders Jake to play the donkey. This makes us like Jake, the plonker!
So which one will win Erin's favour?
I really like Erin, this dab esp ... 'loose-limbed geisha shuffle as if wound up like a clockwork toy.' And yes, she wld be wearing army boots!
Everything about ex-priest Magnus is offputting, while everything about Jake-the-sneaking-a-glimpse-Rake is likeable.
OK, yes, I liked 'fraying red cloth stretched TAUT over the miniature swell of Erin's breasts'.
Ach, Magnus, Magnus! 'It forces me to be cynical...' What an oaf!
They all seem to have been drawn to Italy in pursuit of some high minded or right on way to be, yet the naff pub is like a hot breath of reality, showing how things now are post-S&B.
I like Erin, the sing-song voice. All her life is a performance. For some reason I think of Marianne Faithful. And this line is straight from some hippy-trippy conversation, 'I like your teeth. They're very sharp and big, like a big bad wolf.' O you tease Erin.
'Are you and Magnus lovers' feels a little odd coming from Jake the Rake. I might be wrong, but wldn't a real Jake just blurt out 'Are you shagging him?' or 'Are you and Magnus...?' He might even have nodded his head to ask the question.
The sex-creativity-sex question is really fascinating. I might read on just for more on that thread alone.
Another poetic dab that caught my eye was '...the erotic smell of seaweed and brine...'
There is a good contrast between the street perfomers and the big-ass movie lovvie and his pals. Even Magnus might be overshadowed by F-F-Felix's dark ways.
My one negative though was, 'Why must there always be a murder?' But then I thought about the Meridith case. There often is a murder. And we are endlessly fascinated by them. And Meridith and pals were in Italy ... to live a little more. So why not a murder? But I thought the charachterisations and some of the dabs, the best aspects of what I've read. I wld read more and will BACK you when there is a shelf-space, prolly tmr.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1246 days ago

Greetings Blondie!
Sorry to take a while.
Ch 1
Active, with a young hippy feel to it, even a sixties feel. I felt the 18 again as I read. I was taken with the rag-tag baldy, alternative type. Rolling a ciggy is sort of the new sex even, though that just shows how buttoned down this reader is. The snakes shagging, the cicadad shagging, boy-girl-boat frisson ... all catch the eye. I cld feel the flat rock with its lookout view of things. Just right for a basking cat, and a chilling mime artist counting her loot. I very much approve of the loot counting. Maybe that is a propitious way to start a work of art. I like the etheral feel to the whole thing, which is captured in the last graph. Two girls, red white dresses, rowing ... what does it all signify? Who cares, we don't need to know at this point. What seems more important is the mood, which is felt through the girl's mood of inviolate invisibilty which you draw us into.

Jack Hughes wrote 1247 days ago

An amazing and very well devised story, the characters are brilliantly portrayed. Wonderful location, great writing, an excellent piece of work.

Backed as soon as I can, best of luck.


ccb1 wrote 1247 days ago

Love a mystery. Added That Time is Past to our watchlist.
CC Brown
Dark Side

Pat Black wrote 1248 days ago

Very unusual, very competently written first chapter. And I loved the whodunnit, hinting at a fractured timeframe and a reaquaintance with some literary heroes. Excellent stuff