The Spaces in Between by Collin Van Reenan

Review published on July 6, 2018.

“There is Truth and there are Lies; there is Fiction and there is Fact; there is Life and there is Death; and then there are the Spaces in Between.”

Based in France, The Spaces in Between is a well-written account of the true story of a young student, who in this case is called Nicholas, who has been faced with incredible difficulties and when an opportunity arises to better his life, he jumps at this once in a life-time chance. Could this job opportunity be the answer he’s been looking for? It almost sounds too good to be true… or is it?

When we are introduced to Nicholas in the preface, he is on his way to see a Doctor of Psychiatry called Marie-Claire, who is under the impression that this young student is suffering from insomnia, which could have been caused by the stress of his studies and/or the student riots that happened in Paris during May of 1968. Upon further inspection by Maria-Claire, it seems that there is more to him than meets the eye and she asks him to write his tale down for her to read so as to help with his healing and for her to get a better grasp of her new patient. What she wasn’t prepared for, however, was his unfortunate tale that spanned only six weeks, to her it seemed to be a romance story between him and a woman, but events took a dark turn that had a profound effect on her.

Throughout the story we are taken on a journey through Nicholas’ memory from the moment he enters a Parisian café until the job he was so intrigued by is over. The tale begins as anyone with a sound mind would expect; however, as the days and weeks go on and Nicholas begins to question his sanity and whether or not he can tell fantasy from reality, we as the reader begin to question it ourselves and wonder what really is happening and is it truly happening, or have we fallen into the same trap as Nicholas.

The tone of the book starts off dull and dreary, with all the information and descriptions of the student riots during May 1968, but has an uplifting feel once we feel that Nicholas has found his place and is settling well. However, this does not last as the new characters are introduced into the story and things quickly take on a psychedelic twist and the story ends with a very sombre feel.

Although, not being my preferred reading material or style, the book really captivated my interest from the preface all the way through until denouement, where everything tied together and the breakthrough was made to help ease not only Nicholas in his struggles but also I as the reader who wanted the truth behind his grim tale.

“The most dangerous lies are the lies we tell ourselves.”

Laura Root 3/-

The Spaces in Between by Collin Van Reenan
RedDoor Publishing Ltd 9781910453483 pbk Feb 2018

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