The Vanishing Hours by Barney Norris

  • Published: 2019 Penguin Setting: Wiltshire, England Genre: Literary fiction
  • 1. First lines. 2. Cover Penguin 3. Trees in the forest [Public Domain] via Libreshot 4. Silhouettes [Public Domain] via Hippopx
    • THE STORY:
      • Two strangers meet by chance in a bar and begin to talk. One is a woman whose father walked out on her family when she was a child, and as an adult was abandoned by her husband. The other is a man who tells his life story, one that is a fantastical tale of how he was transported to other dimensions and into other people’s lives.
    • QUOTES:
      • This was how I heard the most important story of my life, the thing that decided me, the story that determined who I was in the end.
      • You can’t judge someone whose life you haven’t lived. You can’t judge anyone, not in the end, not really. Because you never know where they’re coming from, what standards they’re holding themselves to.
      • “It seemed as though every time I closed a door behind me, I entered into a different world. It was a ludicrous thought to contemplate, and I felt mad even phrasing it, but there it was all the same – that was what seemed to be happening to me.
    • MY THOUGHTS:
      • A short book at only 208 pages, this is an intriguing story. The tale told by the man seems so unbelievable that it draws the reader into wondering how the author will resolve the reasons for his seemingly false claims. The ending, however, is perfect. Highly recommended.
    • REVIEWS:
      • The Guardian: “a moving and unconventionally wise account of loss and memory and of how redemption works, even for those who resist it most.”
      • NB Magazine: “It’s expansive and evocative, allowing the reader to vicariously experience the various accounts and situations described in the book most palpably. There is a dreamlike, Kafkaesque quality to some of the sequences in the story. I’m not wishing to give anything away but the second character finds himself in a sequenced and almost dystopian time warp of diverse proportions. It’s compelling reading and you’re carried along in a crescendo of words and situations that almost leave you needing to come up for air.”

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