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The Time in Between is a novel by Canadian author David Bergen. It deals with a man, who mysteriously returns to Vietnam, where he had been a soldier earlier in his life, followed by his children, who also go to Vietnam to search for him. The novel was the recipient of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award in 2005.

The Time in Between
The Time In Between cover.png
AuthorDavid Bergen
PublisherMcClelland & Stewart in Canada,
Random House in the United States
Publication date
August 16, 2005
Pages288 (McClelland & Stewart),
256 (Random House)
ISBN978-0-7710-1178-8 (McClelland & Stewart)
ISBN 978-1-4000-6240-9 (Random House)



Charles Boatman, an army veteran suddenly disappears and his daughter Ada and her younger brother Jon on finding some clues go looking out for him in Danang, Vietnam. The novel mixes various stories from different timeframes narrating Charles's days in Washington when he was young. He married Sara and had daughter Ada while living in Fraser Valley of British Columbia. He gets posted in the war time era to Vietnam and serves there and upon arrival discovers his wife's infidelity. Sara dies early and by then they also had a son Jon. Charles keeps getting nightmares of his Vietnam days on how he killed an innocent civilian boy in one of the operations and this keeps haunting him. On the other hand, Ada s on her mission to find her father and is helped by a local guy Yen who becomes her guide and guardian in the new country. She engages in a sexual relationship with an older man, Hoang Vu who is an artist by profession. Jon indulges in the nightlife of Vietnam and Ada keeps getting closer to her father as she travels across the country. Charles discovers author Dang Tho's novel chronicling wartime and this helps him find some peace.

Publication and developmentEdit

The book is author David Bergen's fifth novel.[1] Although generally called a war novel, the author states that he "[doesn't] see The Time in Between as a war novel".[2] The book was released as Audio book by Blackstone Audio in December 2005 and was narrated by Anna Fields, better known as Kate Fleming.[3]

Reviews and receptionEdit

Kirkus reviews called the novel a "beautifully composed, unflinching and harrowing story".[1] Nicholas Dinka in their Quill & Quire review mentions that the novel has "much decency and intelligence" and both the stories of the novel are "entirely plausible" but criticises for "remarkable dourness of its prose".[4] While Dennis Lythgoe of Deseret News noted that "Bergen's book lives and breathes the Vietnam experience";[5] Ron Charles in his The Washington Post review mentioned that "Bergen's ability to dramatize trauma-induced disaffection is undeniable; whether readers will want to sink down that hole with his characters is less clear".[6] Irene Wanner of The Seattle Times appreciated the novel for its writing.[7]

The novel won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2005 while being nominated along with Luck (by Joan Barfoot), Sweetness in the Belly (by Camilla Gibb), Alligator (by Lisa Moore), and A Wall of Light (by Edeet Ravel). The judges Warren Cariou, Elizabeth Hay, and Richard B. Wright noted "The Time in Between explores our need to understand the relationship between love and duty....[] This is a subtle and elegantly written novel by an author in complete command of his talent".[8] It also won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award in 2005. Berger had earlier won the award in 1996 for A Year of Lesser and later again won in 2009 for The Retreat.[9] Dan Zigmond of SFGate reviews the novel as "a rich and rewarding novel".[10]


  1. ^ a b "Kirkus Review: The Time in Between by David Bergen". Kirkus Reviews. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Books : McClelland & Stewart". Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Audio book review: The Time In Between". Publisher's Weekly. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  4. ^ Dinka, Nicholas. "The Time in Between". Quill and Quire. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  5. ^ Lythgoe, Dennis (11 December 2005). "Book review: 'Time' is brilliant, haunting journey". Deseret News. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  6. ^ Charles, Ron (18 December 2005). "In Country". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  7. ^ Wanner, Irene (23 December 2005). ""The Time In Between": Probing the demons of war within one family". Seattle Times. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Author David Bergen wind the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize". Scotiabank. 8 November 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Past Winners: Manitoba Book Awards". Manitoba Book Awards. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  10. ^ Zigmond, Dan (1 January 2006). "Ex-soldier's children follow tracks of war / Bergen's novel set in Vietnam and Canada". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 29 March 2017.