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The Time In Between

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,542 ratings  ·  144 reviews
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 th
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published August 16th 2005)
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3.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,542 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Jennifer (aka EM)
Just a few notes here before this book evaporates into the ether on me; which is not an indictment of its quality (more, my own poor literary memory. Hence the need for these notes.) Also, there are not enough reviews, nor readers, for this novel. It really deserves a wider audience.

David Bergen, a Canadian writer, won the Giller for this in 2005 and another of his - The Age of Hope - was a finalist in Canada Reads 2013. I had never read him before.

The Time In Between focuses on a U.S. veteran w
Rebecca McNutt
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Time In Between was even better than I'd hoped. Surrounded in both Vietnam and Canada culture, this book is amazingly-written and evocative.
Feb 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 110-cbc, award-giller
I'm trying very hard to find something positive to say about The Time in Between , but not much is leaping to mind. It wasn't the worst book ever, it was engrossing and easy to read, but having finished I don't feel that usual sense of gladness that I read it.

The main story of the book, or so I thought, is resolved halfway through. After that it's as though the characters just didn't want to leave. They interact with other people, sometimes in significant ways, and yet don't seem to grow or dev
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Berger’sThe Time in Between won the Canadian Giller Prize in 2005, and it’s a captivating book. I wanted something interesting to read after the disappointment of The Big Fellow, so I began Brian Castro’s Drift, which I love, but that’s a complex book and not one for bedtime reading. The Time in Between, however, was ideal. It is a slow meditation on war and its aftermath, and how different cultures deal with it.

The first part of the novel is framed around Charles Boatman, a Vietnam Veter
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not my favourite of David Bergen's but definitely his style. I find his writing so close to "home". Is it because he is Canadian that I find his writing so heartfelt? This book did not pan out like I thought it would. This is the story of a man from the U.S. who was in Vietnam and after returning from the war, moved to British Columbia and had a family. He returns to Vietnam to find redemption? forgiveness? himself? He loses touch with his adult children who go to Vietnam to find him. A very sad ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: litsy-lmpbc, borrowed
Sometimes I find myself disagreeing with the hype about some books and lately it has been happening a lot more than I would like for it to as I find myself wondering how some people were able to rate this 4 and 5 stars and with so much praise.

I found that this was slow paced and in some sections, the pace was ideal as it lent itself to the imagery that the author was going for but in other moments, the pacing was dreadful. I can only assume that the author was trying to build some sort of suspen
Nancy Oakes
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-fiction
Another entry on my reading list for March, The Time In Between won the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize, which recognizes "excellence in Canadian fiction." If you're interested, you can read about it here. And imho, this book definitely deserved a prize of some sort.

On the back cover of my copy of The Time in Between there is a blurb from the San Francisco Chronicle saying "A sparse and moving meditation on the burden of war across generations." I couldn't have described it better. As the book beg
Dawn Michelle
Feb 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dawn Michelle by: Saw him win The Giller Prize for it on TV
Shelves: giller-prize
SIGH. It took me awhile to finish this book. While I liked the way the author writes, I wasn't crazy about the story he was telling. It was very sad (which obviously seems to be a theme with me right now) and I didn't understand why the main character did some of the things she did. AND, I hated the ending. It was abrupt. I hate that. I feel you are left hanging, in a way.
I may read another one of his books, only because I really liked his style of writing. It just may have been the story itsel
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
My appreciation for this novel lies more in its technical merits than in the experience of reading it. I could have dismissed it as an unsettling and depressing story with a fractured, meandering structure and disappointing conclusion. However, connecting with a fundamental theme in the story, I was compelled to look at the subject of personal and cultural history and question how, and why I felt this way. The more I reflected and re-examined the novel, the more layers of depth I discovered, sub ...more
Quân Khuê
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Có những lý do khác nhau để người ta thích một cuốn tiểu thuyết: một câu chuyện, một vấn đề, một kỷ niệm, một cách ứng xử, hay một cấu trúc. Với Ở lưng chừng thời gian, tôi đặc biệt thích văn, một giọng văn lơ mơ mà ám ảnh. Vết hằn cuộc chiến Việt Nam lên đời sống tinh thần của một cựu chiến binh Mỹ là đề tài của tiếu thuyết này. Đọc Ở lưng chừng thời gian không thể không nghĩ đến Nỗi buồn chiến tranh của Bảo Ninh – hai cuốn này tạo thành một cặp tiểu thuyết cân xứng về người lính hai bên chiến ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like so many other vets, Charles Boatman never recovered from his tour of duty in Vietnam. His squad was ordered to clear a village and while doing so, he shot a boy. He never talked about and he never forgave himself. He returned to his young wife and daughter Ada but life was difficult - the recurring dream haunts him. His wife had twins (girl Del and boy Jon). He discovered his wife had a lover and leaves, moving to a refurbished caboose in British Columbia. He's taking a correspondence cours ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that I have been wanting to read ever since it came out. The writing is beautiful in sparse explicitness.
The first 2/3rds of the book were riveting, but I didn't get the point of the last third. I felt the main story lines were told and wrapped up, but Ada is still lost and carries on so the writer keeps on telling her story, even though she doesn't really have one.

May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one’s a bit slow without a lot of exciting action, but the story is beautiful and captivating. I liked the characters, and the descriptions of Danang were great.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book because it is so beautifully written. The pace is slow, as befits the novel, and though the plot is not incredibly dramatic, the characters, especially Ada, feel real and very much 'in transit' and 'in between' - lost as children who 'lose' a parent feel.

Also, I have travelled twice to Danang and Hanoi in Vietnam, so I was totally enamoured by that aspect of setting.

Loved this book.
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
- Ah, to look forward to a book, only to be disappointed again! Yet another war-themed book that didn't really have anything original to say. War is sad. We get it! War leaves casualties; sometimes not always physical. War isn't fair, etc, etc...But what else??? What else can you teach a younger generation who have not lived through the agony of war how to be more empathic and connected to those who have sacrificed so much for us?
- I've had this book on my shelf for awhile...Many years ago I sta
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Bergen explores coping with grief in "The Time In Between"; needless to say, it was not a happy book. His prose is plain-- which is something I don't mind, but it's a little surprising that the book won the Giller. Yet, the plain prose makes it easier to read through the characters' introspection and detailed sequences of mundane actions. I'm only rating this as "ok" because the story wasn't very remarkable, but it was readable.
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2008
You can read my review with either one of the links below, however if you have read this book yourself, please stop by my blog and vote on your rating of it.

Here are the links: (Please vote if your so inclined)

My blog:

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
I love the first part of this book and the story could have ended with the first section. Up until I started part two, I would have given this at least four stars. For me the second part of this book ruined the story, I felt it dragged it out unnecessarily.
Moira Sr. Fogarty
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
I listened to this as a book on CD - the readers were excellent and I wish I could say I was engrossed by the story, however, I found the father to be an unappealing character with no thought except for his own self gratification and his self involvement. Not a book I would recommend.
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
book club 1/09 read early in Nov. 2008
I haven't read much about Vietnam so this gave me information about the 60's there. The author's style is short, curt sentences. I guess that I like words to flow easily and beautifully. Also it was hard to identify with these characters.
May 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
If it weren't for book club I never would have finished this. I couldn't relate to anyone.
Sep 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
I didn't find the characters believable. The main character, in my opinion, would not play Scrabble. Not recommended. I read it because it won the Giller Prize.
Aug 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
Terry S
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not what I had expected. I enjoyed the beginning more than the end. Anticipating a better ending caused me to finish the book, but it fell flat in my opinion. Maybe I just missed the point!
Tee Bear
Jan 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read it but I can't really remember it. Therefore, I consider it forgettable.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: canadian-authors
Awful. I can't think of anything else to say about this book.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian-author
I really enjoyed this well written novel. The author, Bergen was raised as a Mennonite in Manitoba. He says his decision to write fiction was influenced by the church to stifle questions and criticism. "Writing is a way of figuring things out, if you can't ask questions in church, maybe you can ask them in fiction." I do hope Bergen has since realized that there are Menno churches around that not only allow, but encourage the questions.

In this book he writes about Charles who served in the Vietn
I read this novel right after discovering David Bergen's "Stranger," a perfect gem of a story. I found in that book an optimism rarely found in tales of undocumented migrants from Latin America. But "The Time in Between" strikes an almost opposite note of unrelieved sadness. With "Stranger" I was very impressed by Bergen's ability to depict a character from another culture and gender. Alas, the characters in "The Time.."seem superficial to me. The troubled Viet Nam veteran father has no credibil ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting bringing together of all of it, and of course Yen is the ghost of the boy that her father killed in the village where she visited, where they spread his ashes, the boy he thought at first was a soldier, but turned out to be just a boy, a boy that haunted him and his children until now, or maybe forever. A wrong cannot ever really go away.
"She said, 'There are many things I love here. The rooster calling in the courtyard. I love that. Or having tea with that old man today. We didn'
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Born in Port Edward, British Columbia, author David Bergen worked as a writer and high school English teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before gaining a great deal of recognition in Canada when his novel The Time In Between won the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize, one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards. The novel also received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews and was longlisted for the 2007 ...more
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