Blurb: There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.
But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.
The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.
Having read The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by the same author, I was expecting this book to be similarly whimsical, but it is actually completely different and yet still utterly compelling.
The story is narrated by Emma Maria Rossini, as she talks us through her childhood beginning with a memorable cinema incident and gradually working her way to the ‘present day’ of her adulthood.
From the very start the reader is aware that Emma’s story may be open to different interpretations as there is often dissonance between her statements and the reader’s perceptions of what she says. For example, she explains how she loves and adores her mother, whilst simultaneously explaining how utterly ‘dim’ and neurotic she perceives her to be. It is clear that there is a lot of emotion going on underneath this blithe narrative of a semi-charmed childhood.
The three most important figures of Emma’s childhood are clearly her mother, Cat/Caitlin (beautiful, jealous, anxious); her father, Paul Ross (famous actor and heartthrob, absent a lot) and her paternal grandfather, Alberto Rossini (eminent but also ridiculed astrophysicist, mathematician and philosopher). These three adults all provide very different childhood experiences of love, fame, knowledge, money, security and trauma (I’ll leave it to you to read and find out which is which!) which go on to affect Emma profoundly into her adult life.
With the importance of Alberto’s ‘theory of everything’ and his applied calculations to Emma and her experiences, it is a clever touch to have each chapter number represented by the appropriate formula. Little snippets of astrophysics and mathematics are interlaced and embedded throughout the text to, widening the breadth of the story from one individual’s lived experience to a more universal perspective.
This is a deeply intimate, witty, and (at-times) upsetting story of an unusual upbringing and the unforeseen impact our choices can have on the lives of those around us. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories of family, love, loss and the struggle to achieve well-adjusted adulthood despite them.
I am beginning to feel my eyelids close. This is absolutely the worst film I have ever seen. I am also beginning to wish we had come to see a cartoon, even with improbable talking animals.
Then the scene changes. The man is walking into a hotel. He picks up his key at reception and takes the lift to the fifth floor – I see which button he presses. He opens the door t his bedroom, throws his key onto the bed, opens a small cupboard at floor level, and takes out a very small bottle. He opens the bottle and pours the liquid into a glass. He takes the glass to his large bedroom window, with a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower. I therefore know that he’s still in Paris.
There is a knock at the door and the man turns, crosses the room, and opens the door.
I gasp. ‘It’s Daddy!’
– Charlie Laidlaw, The Space Between Time
You can find my review of The Things We Learn When We’re Dead here.
The Space Between Time releases tomorrow (20th June), but you can preorder it on Amazon right now! In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the other blog tour stops for more great content and reviews – details are on the poster below…