Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw. It’s literary fiction, combined with a extraordinary thread of logic, mathematical theory, astronomy, physics and theorem, which flows throughout the story.About the Author
Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up children.
There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini’s perfect life begins to splinter when her celebrity father becomes more distant, and her mother dies suspiciously during a lightning storm. This death has a massive effect on Emma, but after stumbling through university, she settles into work as a journalist in Edinburgh.
Her past, however, cannot be escaped. Her mental health becomes unstable. But while recovering in a mental institution, Emma begins to write a memoir to help come to terms with the unravelling of her life.
She finds ultimate solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe – which offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.
It reminded me of the work of Benjamin Constable – the way reality is speckled and fragmented and driven by the imagination, which results in singularly individual experiences and memories. No one memory is the same even when the event is experienced by multiple people simultaneously.
In this case it leaves the reader wondering what is fiction, what is fact or more importantly what is it that Emma wants to believe and perhaps wants others to believe. Towards the end of the book, as the truth of her situation becomes more apparent, the read flows into an introspective narrative. It completely flips the narrative of the first half of the book.
The reader then becomes aware that the story, up to that point, is told from the subjective point of a child. A child who perhaps wants to remember her life a certain way instead of remembering the reality of it. She romanticises the negative aspects or brushes them away as if they are annoyances. Daddy is never there because he is very busy, as opposed to he isn’t there because they aren’t a priority and he doesn’t care. Mommy gets annoyed and flustered sometimes, as opposed to Mommy is sad, depressed and suffers from anxiety.
It’s literary fiction, combined with a extraordinary thread of logic, mathematical theory, astronomy, physics and theorem, which flows throughout the story. I loved that aspect of the story, in fact the grandfather was my favourite character.
Laidlaw is the kind of writer you have to take the time to enjoy. This isn’t a quick fix or read. Every nuance of the story opens up a separate avenue to explore and examine, especially in the second half, because the reader has been given the rest of the information in the first half, ergo the second is the missing variable, which allows us to solve the equation.
It explores the emotional fragility of Emma the woman, due to the trauma she endured as a child. Laidlaw examines depression, anxiety and suicide from a the viewpoint of a spectator. Then as the spectator becomes the person who has to learn to cope with mental health issues. The result is a fascinating read.