Metro Mama Reviews: The Time In Between
There was little time between when I started this book and when I finished it. It was hard to put down.
The Time in Between, written by David Bergen and winner of the Giller Prize, explores the lasting and far-reaching effects of war, the father-daughter relationship, and the complexity of psychological pain. Set in Vietnam, the book is also a travelogue, with vivid descriptions of the landscape and customs of the country.
Charles Boatman, widower and Vietnam vet, has raised his three children in a renovated caboose on a mountain in BC. Haunted by his memories of Vietnam, he sees a psychologist, who isn’t able to help him. When a fellow vet sends him a book about the war, written by a Vietnamese soldier, the connection he feels to the soldier in the story is a catalyst that sends him back to Vietnam to try to exorcise his demons.
When Charles disappears in Vietnam, two of his children, Jon and Ada, journey there to look for him. Ada retraces her father’s steps to try to understand what led him back to Vietnam.
Bergen’s prose is engrossing and succinct. He explores difficult issues with clarity and depth without offering any easy answers.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author—he’s written three other novels and a collection of short stories. His most recent novel, The Case of Lena S., was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. He’s a Canadian and lives in Winnipeg.
I’ll definitely be reading more.