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In Between Days Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 4, 2012
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“Porter writes with intuitiveness about the complexities of family life and creates indelible characters . . . What makes In Between Days so compelling is the characters. Each is holding something back from the others, carrying a secret, telling only half the truth most of the time. By withholding vital information, Porter is able to develop a sense of unease as thick as Houston smog.” —San Antonio Express-News
“[Gives] a real and moving sense of how families are composed of so many moments mutually and individually and collectively experienced . . . The author manages to make us care, to help us see how every move and each decision, however seemingly important or inconsequential, ravels and unravels a family’s life, as the fabric nonetheless somehow holds together . . . Eloquent.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“In Between Days confirms that Andrew Porter has arrived . . . A Jamesian examination of character that dances a quadrille with the points of view of the four Hardings, the novel sustains the taut suspense of crime fiction . . . The prose and pacing are nearly flawless.” —Texas Observer
“This is Andrew Porter’s first novel and, as a portrait of a modern American nuclear family, it is a deft one. He weaves in the full tapestry of contemporary life and its complications: male menopause, desperate housewives, extended adolescence, and race relations in post-9/11 America.” —Dallas Morning News
“Porter’s debut novel grabs the reader and does not let go until the last line . . . The plot moves backward and forward in time, artfully revealing key details and maintaining a mesmerizing level of suspense . . . An examination of the development of identity as seen through the lens of the disintegration of family; highly recommended.” —Library Journal
“A stirring page-turner, part Chekhov and part Hitchcock.” —Houston magazine
“I was shaken by this cautionary tale of what can happen when a family’s secrets become larger than the love they share.” —Real Simple
“In Between Days is as complex and sensitive in psychology as it is credible and compelling in narrative . . . [Porter] masterfully creates the context in which this quartet of characters display not just their vulnerabilities but their desperate comprehension.” —Baton Rouge Advocate
“The story is told with great emotional and psychological insight. All of the four Hardings get to tell their pieces of the story in their distinct voices, creating a multilayered and suspenseful tale of love in all its varieties and family defined in different ways.” —Booklist
“A striking assemblage of generational disintegration and distress that will remind some readers of [the] Ingmar Bergman–inspired Woody Allen art house flick Interiors by way of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides . . . Porter has effortlessly and enviably, it seems, made the tough transition from best-kept literary secret to bestseller material.” —San Antonio magazine
“Porter’s absorbing debut novel chronicles the slow-motion fracture of an upper-middle-class Houston clan . . . The prose is smooth—practically frictionless, thanks to Porter’s realistic yet meaningful dialogue and his plainspoken, nonjudgmental descriptions . . . Porter wants to explore why we take such firm hold of some parts of our emotional lives but willfully neglect others, and his surprise ending suggests why it’s worth breaking free of others’ definitions of emotional attainment.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An exquisitely told dysfunctional family drama . . . One of the year’s stellar debut novels.” —Largehearted Boy blog
Praise for Andrew Porter's The Theory of Light and Matter
“Andrew Porter’s fiction is thoughtful, lucid, and highly controlled . . . He has the kind of voice one can accept as universal—honest and grave, with transparency as its adornment.” —Marilynne Robinson
“Luminous . . . In direct dialogue with the work of John Cheever and Raymond Carver . . . A memorable debut that honors the history of the short story form while blazing a new trajectory all its own.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“An exquisite collection . . . with hard-won grit and imagination to spare.” —Time Out New York
“These beautiful stories feel safe and menacing at the same time. In bucolic suburbs and quiet college towns, the unspeakable happens.” —The Boston Globe
“Of all the things to love about Andrew Porter’s wonderful collection, my favorite is how tenderly his characters treat one another’s failings and vulnerabilities . . . Their sensitivity is just as stirring and their subtle moments of epiphany just as poignant [as] Raymond Carver’s characters’ . . . Porter is a master storyteller, a writer who whispers rather than screams his truths. We look forward to more from such an amazing talent.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A fantastic collection of short stories.” —Houston Chronicle
“If you are anything like me, you will read The Theory of Light and Matter with the same feeling of simple gratitude that the first readers of Richard Ford’s Rock Springs must have experienced twenty years ago: here, you will think, is a true master of the short story, a writer of honesty and plainspoken poetry who knows the human soul in all its light and shadow and harnesses every sentence to the purpose of revealing it.” —Kevin Brockmeier
“Stunning meditations on loss and remembrance . . . Porter crafts stories of disparate lives in an evocative, straightforward prose style reminiscent of Raymond Carver.” —The Daily Beast
“Porter can achieve more in a handful of pages than most writers can in a hundred . . . My favorite book of the year.” —San Antonio Express-News
“A work of unadorned beauty [that] draws immediate comparison to the stories of Raymond Carver.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Moving, original, and unforgettable, this is a must-own collection.” —The Strand
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is told from the points of view of the four members of the Harding family of Houston, Texas. Although the exact ages of the parents, Elson and Cadence, are not given they are at least late 40's and have recently and bitterly divorced, much to the dismay of their two adult children, Richard and Chloe. Elson is an architect who drinks hard and has acquired a girl friend; Cadence is going back to college; Richard has graduated but working at a low paying job while still living at home; and Chloe has been sent home from college due to an event involving her boyfriend, Raja, which obviously was something serious enough to involve the police. Each chapter is told from a different point of view, with Chloe's story slowly taking center stage as her parents and brother uncover the mystery of what happened "that night" on campus when another student was seriouly injured.
At first, I had a difficult time warming to any of the characters -- Elson and Cadence in particular, although I am certainly closer to their ages then to the ages of their children. Elson is what is commonly known as a control freak, who needs to know every aspect of the life of his ex and his girl friend, even at the risk of driving the latter away.Read more ›
Chloe Harding could be one of the happiest persons alive. She is a successful student enrolled in a prestigious college, has a boyfriend she loves and lots of friends. Chloe is suddenly expelled from school and is being harassed by the local police. How could this have happened?
My initial expectation was that this story would focus on Chloe's problem. Why was she expelled? Was she actually guilty of a crime? How could she have been in the wrong place? Who could do this to her? In Between Days however, emphasizes relationships. This is a character driven novel. The plot has multiple storylines, but is predictable. The characters a well drawn and real. They narrate four different, alternating perspectives.
Chloe comes from a dysfunctional family. Her father Elson is stuck in a dull job, drinks to excess and is recently divorced by his wife Cadence. Cadence, after thirty years of marriage, finds herself questioning the meaning of her life and why she dropped out of college to marry Elson. Their son Richard recently "came out" and resents his father for not supporting him.
The plot is typical, father and mother fighting, children feeling unloved and neglected, siblings becoming close and keeping secrets. The parents try disparately to keep control. Each of the people slowly learn how little control they have over others
What makes this story worthwhile is its close exposure of the feelings and problems typical of people in a disjointed family - a fractured family. This is all set in homes and cafes of Houston, with satisfying enough detail to make the reader picture sections of the city that the author obviously loves.
The novel is full of psychological suspense, with each of the family members worrying about the others and hoping to manipulate them a little. A sub-theme is an intriguing tale of betrayal and forgiveness of a friend. I recommend this novel for those who enjoy character studies.
But let me focus here, on Porter's novel, and explain why I was so excited to read. The first reason, I think, is because a couple years ago I read his short story collection--The Theory of Light and Matter--and I was blown away. The subtle brilliance, the simple eloquent language, the complexity of his characters, and the way in which Porter played with notions of memory. And it was for these same reasons, I loved In Between Days.
Unlike his story collection--which is narrated in the first person--In Between Days is narrated in third. And its perspective rotates between four characters--Elson (dad), Cadence (mom), Chloe (daughter), and Richard (son). This is a complicated family with complicated issues. Chloe is in trouble with the law; Elson and Cadence are divorced; Elson has issues with alcohol and suffers from his own insecurities at work (he's an architect); Cadence is stuck in a kind of paralyzing state of what was and what could be (she married at a young age), and Richard is trying to grow up while trying to negotiate family dynamics, relational issues of his own (both sexual and otherwise), and whether or not to pursue graduate school. And here's what I really loved about this book: the tender moments in which these family members try and comfort each other while working out their own family or personal issues. Or, at other times, when they seek out comfort from others.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed reading "In Between Days." Andrew Porter wrote a terrific novel about a family going through a crisis, and how this affects the individual members and the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Charles - Music Lover
Andrew Porter won an award for his first book, a collection of short fiction, which won praise from Marilynne Robinson among others. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Stanley Crowe
I read this book hard on the heels of Theory of Light and Matter. I'm like that, I find a write whose voice I love and I simply cannot get enough of. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Victoria L. Meade
I positively devoured this novel. The characters are exquisite, the plot is disturbing and ordinary and weird all at once. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jessica Gottlieb
This is the best novel I have read in years. While I am no literature critic or professor, I do tend to read a lot and I like to think I know good writing and story line when I... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Peter F. Rausch
Excellent fiction with lots of unexpected twists and turns. A must read.Published 15 months ago by BeachBabe
The book was well written. And it did say "contemporary" category. For my age group of over 70 it was a little too contemporary and disturbing in regards to the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Betty Leininger
This is not a happy story. It's sad. It's about a family that falls apart. As the novel progresses the reader sees each family member struggle with her/his own place in the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by RE Krause