The Time in Between

The Time in Between

Book - 2005
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In search of love, absolution, or forgiveness, Charles Boatman leaves the Fraser Valley of British Columbia and returns mysteriously to Vietnam, the country where he fought twenty-nine years earlier as a young, reluctant soldier. But his new encounters seem irreconcilable with his memories. When he disappears, his daughter Ada, and her brother, Jon, travel to Vietnam, to the streets of Danang and beyond, to search for him. Their quest takes them into the heart of a country that is at once incomprehensible, impassive, and beautiful. Chasing her father's shadow for weeks, following slim leads, Ada feels increasingly hopeless. Yet while Jon slips into the urban nightlife to avoid what he most fears, Ada finds herself growing closer to her missing father -- and strong enough to forgive him and bear the heartbreaking truth of his long-kept secret. Bergen's marvellously drawn characters include Lieutenant Dat, the police officer who tries to seduce Ada by withholding information; the boy Yen, an orphan, who follows Ada and claims to be her guide; Jack Gouds, an American expatriate and self-styled missionary; his strong-willed and unhappy wife, Elaine, whose desperate encounters with Charles in the days before his disappearance will always haunt her; and Hoang Vu, the artist and philosopher who will teach Ada about the complexity of love and betrayal. We also come to learn about the reclusive author Dang Tho, whose famous wartime novel pulls at Charles in ways he can't explain. Moving between father and daughter, the present and the past, "The Time in Between" is a luminous, unforgettable novel about one family, two cultures, and a profound emotional journey in search of elusiveanswers. "Beautiful and timely...A sparse and moving meditation on the burden of war across generations." -"San Francisco Chronicle" "Exquisite...With simple sentences, evocative images and subtle insights into elusive emotional states, the words don't merely tell a story; they become poetry." -"The Baltimore Sun" "This is a book of searching....Part war story...part expatriate novel, too, as if "A Farewell to Arms" and "The Sun Also Rises" had been rolled into one." -"Chicago Tribune" "Brilliant...a literary triumph...As Kurt Vonnegut's memorable "Slaughterhouse-Five" did so brilliantly with the impact of World War II, Bergen's book lives and breathes the Vietnam experience." -"Deseret Morning News" (Best Books of 2005) Best Books of 2005 -"St. Louis Post-Dispatch" "Intense...haunting...a profound meditation on human disconnection." -"Seattle Post-Intelligencer" "Spellbinding." -"The Sunday Oklahoman" "Bergen is a master of understatement....[his] elegantly crafted denouement is devastating and powerful, a testament to a writer who senses that some things-passion, violence-can be understood only by traveling outside one's comfort zone and traversing the far edges of reason." -"San Diego Union-Tribune" "A beautifully composed, unflinching and harrowing story. Perhaps the best fiction yet to confront and comprehend the legacy of Vietnam." -"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review) "Affecting...delicate...At the end of this lovely novel, it is Ada and her siblings who are left searching, and the reader along with them." -"The Wall Street Journal" "The Vietnam War has been the inspiration for scores of novels, but Bergen'sfifth book is one of the most moving we've encountered." -"Sacramento Bee" "A beautifully crafted meditation on the frustrating search for emotional clarity....[This] simmering novel will mesmerize readers with the intensity of its vision." -"Booklist" "Haunting and dreamlike...The author writes with a certain delicacy of description...[that] preserves the exquisiteness of the Vietnamese culture, lending a unique beauty to the story. Highly recommended." -"Library Journal " "Luminous...In this meditation on the aftereffects of violence and failed
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2005
ISBN: 9780771011788
Characteristics: 273 p


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Oct 16, 2020

I read this novel during the 2020 pandemic. I enjoyed it despite the depressing stories of the Vietnam war,etc. I was also frustrated with the ending as the story just stopped, with no resolution!

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 24, 2015

Winner of the prestigious Giller Prize in 2005, this is a profoudly sad novel about the emotional damage suffered by a Vietnam Vet. When Charles returns to Vietnam to confront his dark past he mysterioiusly disappears. His two grown children fly to Vietnam to search for their father and are drawn into their own emotional vortex.

Dec 20, 2014

This is the kind of book you either like or don't like. The pace is slow and the subject, the effect of the Viet Nam War on its American soldiers, is one that has birthed thousands of books. How can there be anything new for us? Here we meet Ada and John who travel to Viet Nam looking for their father who has in British Columbia and just disappeared. This is a quest on Ada's part not only to find her father but also to find answers to vague, uneasy questions about his past. As others have said, the story moves along somewhat slowly and really doesn't end, doesn't tie up everything with a bow. That's life though, isn't it? Ada's grief will never leave and she will always have questions with no father to answer them. I wonder how many other veterans' children have the same empty spaces that will never be filled.

Sep 19, 2013

a long, and meticulous, meditation on grieving that will test the patience of some, though it will inspire others, the father, a Vietnam vet who returns there to confront his past, will not soon be forgotten

Apr 10, 2013

No stars, because could not read to the end, as much as I have tried.
In my opinion - a very simple language. Although this could be a plus for the novel. But it gives you some kind of "gray" aftertaste and depressing mood!

Oct 01, 2011

This was very boring and irrelevant writing that could have been an interesting look at a former Vietnam veteran returning to an unrecognizable land thirty years later. Bergen falls short, especially in characterization, but also in connecting all of the pieces.

Mar 01, 2011

It wasn't a bad read but it could have done a lot more.
I found the ending quite dissapointing as it didn't really end it just stopped.
I found the auther seem to drag on with the story after half way.

Sep 13, 2010

Good book on post war Viet Nam

Aug 15, 2010


katrina314159 Nov 12, 2009

This story never really went anywhere. Disappointing.

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