tripping the life unbalanced

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

#44 The Time In Between

Now here's a novel I fell into, and absolutely loved. Here's a novel that gives good metaphor AS WELL as good story. This 2005 Giller prize winner won me over, and how. The Time In Between by David Bergen is the story of a man who returns to Vietnam where he fought years before. It is also the story of his daughter Ada's search for him when he goes missing, and her subsequent discovery of who her father really was. It's a novel full of overlapping memories and internal conflict, and ultimately is a story of a daughter's search for herself among her father's personal demons. Sad, yes. Depressing, yes, But totally fulfilling.

I love Bergen's prose - the simplicity of it. Probably not for all readers, as its nakedness will probably bother some. (if that makes sense). But this appeals to me, as I love when an author can cut to the chase. Take this paragraph (page 167) near the end of the novel, where Ada is coming to terms with her father's legacy of fear and anger:

They drank warm beer and watched the sun set. It went down orange and then red. Beyond the palm trees in the courtyard, down the lane, Ada saw a woman riding her bicycle, her back straight, one arm steady at her side. Vu said that it was important to live without hate and bitterness and fear. "This is possible" he said.

I like the cadences here, the rise and fall of the sentences as they convey such a simple idea. It seems effortless, even though I know it couldn't have been.

Totally recommended.


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