The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw Accent Press June 20th 2019
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 effecton 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.
I can’t quite work out why I liked this novel so much, maybe because it wasn’t quite what I expected. After reading the blurb I was prepared for the scientific theory and a narrative that would be quite dark and stark. Instead I was more than pleasantly surprised at the lightness and humour that infused the novel.
I loved his main character, Emma, and her fractured journey from young girl to adulthood. Here was a young girl who tried so desperately to understand the adult world she found herself in, a famous actor father, largely absent, and a mother who struggled in the spot light and did her best to hide her mental health issues before leaving Emma to cope on her own.
And what about Emma’s own mental health, explored so wonderfully and poignantly by Laidlaw? It was definitely not dark but laced with some wonderfully funny moments. You read as she struggled to cope with the fame her father relished, the apparent distance he placed between Emma and her Mum. Did he really love them, were there other people, all questions you saw her asking but could never find the answer. If her father was the ogre her brilliant scientist Grandfather was her hero, the one she admired and loved the most. He was a man who never lost faith in his scientific theories of the universe who batted away the ridicule. I admired the skill in which Laidlaw pulled apart his theories and perfectly matched them to the thoughts and events in Emma’s life, a unique way to try make us understand what was happening to her.
The theory itself was luckily in layman’s terms, easy for us, the reader to understand.
As Emma’s life progressed so did her difficulty in maintaining two personas and you knew that at some point she would come crashing down. When she did Laidlaw made us feel her rawness and pain and the battle with herself as she attempted to put herself to back together.
I couldn’t help but feel empathy for Emma, felt anger at her Father, frustration at her Mother. Their own self absorption came at a price, but Laidlaw didn’t let us wallow as he kept the darkness away with his wonderful supporting cast. I loved Oz and Patsy, but my absolute favourites had to be the Dalek and Knox of which I shall say no more!
Mental health is something that can affect us all at some point in our lives it’s portrayal more prevalent than ever in the novel. Those novels are often bleak, and dark often leaving you empty and bereft but not The Space Between Time, it was a shining star, a novel of love, laughter and hope and I absolutely loved it.
I would like to thank Accent Press for a copy of The Space Between Time to read and review and to Anne Cater Of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
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