There are some Heinlein books that are speedy, breezy adventures. Others will take over your life, seep into your soul, refuse to let go, wrong you out like a sponge and then sop you full of brilliance. Time Enough for Love may be the epitome of such a novel.
Confession: I think I went about this wrong. I think you’re supposed to read Methuselah’s Children to meet Lazarus Long first, then follow him into TEFL. I did not know this, because I am reticent to google anythig that might reveal spoilers (I had a harrowing spoiler reveal back when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out…unnnh, don’t get me started).
Lazarus Long, the oldest living member of not just the human race but also the Howards, a group of people bred (yep) specifically for extraordinarily lengthy lifespans, is near death when he is “rescued” and forcibly “rejuvenated” back to youthful health and to lengthen his lifespan. As he is healing, he treats his companions to stories from his many centuries of life. He is attended by two rejuvenation specialists, “Ishtar” and “Galahad” who provide typical Heinlein bawdy comedy relief in their antics and overtures:
And later, his companion is the omnipresent computer Minerva, who marvels and puzzles at the concept of “love” while recording his tales of both witnessing and experiencing love across time and galaxies aplenty:
…some of which will bring you to tears on the train, if you’re not careful…
And you know how Heinlein likes to preach. While giving the reader a chance to recover from his shorter stories-within-a-story, we are treated to Hein- I mean, Lazarus Long’s personal musings on life:
The story winds into a frenzy that will have you squirming and squealing and gasping with delight and horror and fear. Make time for Time Enough for Love, for the lives of Lazarus Long, and you will find yourself living as many lives as he does through the beauty of Robert Heinlein’s out-of-this-world-class storytelling.