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.
Thank you to the author, Charlie Laidlaw, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
But sometimes, unwittingly and unwillingly, I can see patterns: that one thing leads to another, and then another. Maybe that’s the story of everyone’s life, the random connections that we make, the coincidental meetings, and the inconsequential events that only later gain purpose or significance.
Can I start off by saying how much I like the cover of this book? The Space Between Time is the second novel I have read by Charlie Laidlaw. Like The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, this is a unique story. It’s told in the first person by Emma Maria Rossini as she grows from child to adult. I warmed to Emma and could relate to her in some ways. She is the daughter of a film star and while most people aspire to celebrity, the reality for Emma isn’t enviable. Her father appears distant and her mother hates being in the limelight. This creates a lot of friction in the family and Emma is stuck in the middle. Emma then experiences tragedy at a young age and this has a profound effect on her life.
Some heavy themes are explored in this book, including suicide, self-harm, and mental health. I think the author dealt with these topics in a sensitive manner. The novel is not too bleak though, as light-hearted moments of humour are interspersed throughout the narrative. I particularly liked Knox the cat, aptly named after the father of Scottish Presbyterianism, who disapproves of everyone. Emma herself has a wry sense of humour and it becomes apparent that she uses this as a coping mechanism.
Although her father is famous, the person Emma really looks up to is her grandfather Alberto, an astrophysicist. His Rossini Theorem is initially ridiculed, but it helps Emma understand the world around her. Maths and physics aren’t my forte which is why some of the scientific theories about the universe went over my mind. They are explained in layman’s terms though and Emma draws parallels with them to her life experiences. In fact, each chapter heading has a mathematical equation which corresponds to the chapter number. Again, I don’t know much about maths, but it’s a smart concept.
While this isn’t fast paced, it is descriptive and thought-provoking. Emma has great character development from a young girl to an adult. Her journey is poignant, especially during the third part of the book when she gains a new perspective on key events in her life. It’s a moving illustration of how we see things differently as we grow up. I think this book is about learning to come to terms with who you are and not allowing the past to define you.
An original and heartfelt coming-of-age story which will appeal to anyone interested in the mysteries of the universe.