*The Time in Between by David Bergen* Review



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 elusive answers.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆


I didn’t like this book much, I had a hard time connecting to the characters and I still don’t care about them because there was no character development, they all felt somewhat uninteresting, there was nothing special concerning them, they were not deep even Ada, Charles and John Boatman who are the main characters.

The pace was really slow and the plot was practically none existent, I was not engrossed in the story, there was nothing really catchy or something that will keep me thinking about The Time in Between for a while, also I was not a big fan of the ending, it didn’t tie the story, everything was kept in the open, it did not satisfy me but maybe that’s how David Bergen wanted it to be.

In a way I liked Bergen’s writing style, I don’t know but it spoke to me, his words flow in an easy way. Overall his writing is beautiful. I found it interesting to learn a few things about Vietnam and the way he portrayed the difference between Vietnamese and Americans/Canadians.

Overall I enjoyed reading the first part of the book, so the second part and the ending made me lower my rating. However I look forward to reading more of Bergen’s works because I really liked the way he writes, I just didn’t enjoy this book.


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