Genre: Literary Fiction
Sean McGowen, son of a single mother, decides to search for the father he has never met. A new teacher in the mid-seventies, Sean encounters suicide, homicide and the roots of prejudice. His search for his father transforms into a quest for love and transcendence among the verdant forests of Wisconsin, the shimmering beaches of Guam, the seductive mountains of Colorado, and the diverse contours of California. The process induces him to reconsider his perceptions of free will, love, time and self.
Out of Time starts with a near death experience at the hands of indifferent ocean currents. It’s this experience which causes him to reflect on where he is, and how he got there – thus moving us into the real story. The main plot being our main character’s life and the issues he’s faced. It starts by backing up into a look at the past.
Throughout, this book is mostly a tell – don’t show. This story focuses on ‘what happened’ and how it impacts the character. This doesn’t focus on events going forward. I enjoyed this because it really captured the era for me – or the events of decades that people might have blocked out. At some point in the start, one of the side characters uses the word ‘jigaboos’ – which took me a moment to remember as derogatory slang. I’ll let you look up what it means if you’re interested.
I can’t say I found it extremely interesting on a personal level. This came off as ‘if someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone read it?’ sort of novel. There’s little bits of wisdom and hard learned lessons – but these same lessons are ones that are more potent if… actually learned the hard way – rather than reading them in a book. The writing itself is clear, the characters are given depth through the protagonist’s internal monologue – but the story itself isn’t huge on action, drama, or emotional spikes. It’s a story – of a person’s life.
It’s told very much ‘in hindsight’ and covers all sorts of considerations that were considered progressive then, and have correlations now. Formerly the battle being blacks and realizing the derogatory terms being commonly used, and the a more modern version being feminism. Here’s my verdict – if you lived through the 70s or want to see a well thought out portrayal of the times – then this book may interest you.
I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.