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In Between Days Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 4, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1ST edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307273512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307273512
  • ASIN: 0307273512
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,359,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In Between Days is a tightly wound novel of suspense, wrapped in the emotional trials of a family teetering on the edge of disaster. Andrew Porter has given us a fresh, modern, literary page-turner, exposing in turn the inner lives of father, mother, brother, and sister. Grown-ups go around behaving like children, while adult children refuse to grow up, until ultimately everyone is shaken from their sheltered lives and into a whole new world.” —Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

“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

About the Author

Andrew Porter is the author of the story collection The Theory of Light and Matter. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has received a Pushcart Prize, a James Michener/Copernicus Fellowship, and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. His work has appeared in One Story, The Threepenny Review, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts. Currently, he teaches fiction writing and directs the creative writing program at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

More About the Author

Andrew Porter is the author of the story collection The Theory of Light and Matter, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel In Between Days, which was a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has received a Pushcart Prize, a James Michener/Copernicus Fellowship, and the W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. His work has appeared in One Story, The Threepenny Review, and on public radio's Selected Shorts. Currently, he teaches fiction writing and directs the creative writing program at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Customer Reviews

My only complaint is I was a bit disappointed with the ending, yet it wasn't bad by any means.
Jeanne Anderson
I was familiar with Andrew Porter's short stories, so I was expecting beautiful writing and interesting characters, which I found.
juliec
This was one of those rare books that I keep wanting to come back to so I could see where the characters were going to go.
SK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Ms Winston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As I wrote, Andrew Porter is a talented writer -- in some ways he reminds me of Richard Russo, but without the humor that always inhabits a Russo novel. But Porter has the same rich command of language, the ability to get inside the head of the character who is the focus of the story, and to make the most ordinary and extraordinary events seem real. The only reason I did not give the book five stars is because I felt it did take a little too long to get started.

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.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
.

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.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. B. MULLIGAN VINE VOICE on October 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Excellent excellent book club choice. OH MY there is a lot going on in this story & thank goodness they aren't my family! The story is told in alternating chapters from each person's perspective. The writing is elegant and perfect, the story realistic and compelling. Each family member has huge regrets both for actions taken or not taken on a road less travelled.

Chloe, expelled from college her junior year age 20, for her involvement when another student was seriously injured by her boyfriend Raja who she simply adores as the personification of all good things. Meanwhile at such a young age I hope she doesn't mess up and if she does, well, she has the rest of her life to make it right.

Richard, her brother, is living in the family home in Houston Texas with their mom, struggling with whether he should get an advanced degree in poetry. He's working part time in a café, dates men (to Elson's dismay), drinks and uses drugs. A former professor who believes in his talent or does he? His friend Brandon is a lover for hire. Meanwhile I hope he make all the right moves, I like him.

Cadence, their mother, dropped out of college to marry their father, divorced him months ago after decades of feeling unfulfilled. Richard and Chloe are taking the divorce hard and Cadence has a therapist to find her way and that is unfulfilling too. Meanwhile I hope everything turns out well for her.

Elson, their dad, is a bit of a control freak so by nature perfectly suited to being an architect by profession. He was once considered an up and comer -- hates his job, has always drunk too much and after thirty years of marriage he is BITTER that his unfulfilled wife (hello? You're a drunk who wasted your potential) left him. Meanwhile I kinda like him.

Both parents are dating younger people.

A keeper
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