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Sandy K. (Iowa City, IA)
Until the Next Time
I enjoyed this novel very much, partly because of my Irish heritage and interest in Irish history, but readers of different backgrounds will also be held by its universal questions and themes. At first, I had some difficulty keeping track of characters and events because each chapter is narrated by a different but related character with 20 years between events. I was able to improve my understanding by careful attention to details and parallels between the narrators, and by realizing that the theme of reincarnation, essential to the novel, was enhanced by this construction.
Diane W. (Lake Villa, IL)
Until the Next Time
The author's use of a vernacular version of English for the dialog of the native Irish characters aids in the reader's sense of experiencing the story personally, as do his marvelously detailed descriptions of places and people, and of events associated with phases of the Irish Troubles into which he blends his fictional characters.
I did enjoy this book once I was able to manage the switching of time periods/years and the characters relevant to each of the stories---and this became more clear as I read along. I really enjoy learning about the Irish culture and history and did gain a good deal from the book's details and narrative of these aspects. All in all, a good read that I would recommend. An intriguing story....
Suzanne R. (Nashville, TN)
No Next Time for me
I chose this book because the premise of time travel via journal to meet a heretofore unknown grandfather intrigued me. Unfortunately, the story did not grab me. It was confusing because of the similarity of the character's names, I had to keep flipping back and forth. Not a book I would recommend.
Chris (Temple City, CA)
Until the Next Time
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The chapters alternate between characters in 1972 and 1996, and this can be confusing at times. The characters are likable though numerous. The historical context with the political and religious struggles was made more personal seeing it through the eyes of the various characters. The foreshadowing was a bit much at times, and it was a stretch that the uncle would write such detail and descriptions in his journal. I enjoyed the romance and reincarnation themes.
Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
Probably Won’t Be a Next Time
This book covers interesting themes and is redundant. There are two parallel stories that I found confusing (perhaps because I picked the book up and put it down too many times). I got tired of the women calling the men “eejits” and “amadans” (Gaelic for “eejits”) and telling them to “shut yer gob”, which they did every couple of pages. People being told that they just weren’t looking at what was in front of them, they weren’t asking the right question or hearing what was being said - that got old, too. The concept of reincarnation is fascinating, and Fox’s explanation of the destruction wrought by non-believers in it rings true. I also like his premise that fiction and stories hold truths (because they are fluid and open to interpretation by the beholder) as opposed to written history, as in the driving force behind this story, for example – the journal – because it is dangerous and offers only the writer’s point of view. “Lie to illuminate the truth” – certainly something to consider. Fox’s take on the Celt’s strengths and weaknesses was entertaining (drinking often, using unpredictability and individuality to win wars). But the icing was his invitation to show up at Inchmore on December 9 – I wonder if he actually goes, and if anyone thinks they’re his Kate…actually, I really don’t want to know.
Barbra W. (Dexter, MI)
Left me flat
I really wanted to love this book. I'm Irish and I love a good story, especially one that takes place on Ireland. But I got frustrated with how everyone seemed to know what was going on but the main character, and how long that went on for. And while I think the book did capture some of the Irish spirit, there was also rudeness and anger at a level that began to feel trite to me. The back and forth storytelling between the two main characters was interesting in the beginning, but just began to blend together and get confusing by halfway through. Perhaps that is what the author intended but it irritated me more than it kept my interest. Overall, just not to my taste.
Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)
Time out of Memory
Transporting books are safe passages to hard places. “Until the Next Time” takes us deep into the Troubles of Northern Ireland, where history is a congenital disorder, something to be lived with and overcome. But where there is hate, there seems always to be love. “Until the Next Time” is also an old story, of perennial love.
Mary B. (St Paul, MN)
Until Next Time
Profound books allow readers to climb into a Paradigm Simulator, flying themselves through wholly unfamiliar worldviews. “Until the Next Time” will leave you contesting the implications and conundrums of a universe in which time is more important than space.
“Until the Next Time” could be an airplane book, a gritty love story set in shifty and slithery danger, good enough to keep you awake on the red-eye flight. But it could also make what were harmless déjà vu moments in your life seem like brooding messages from an unremembered smartphone app.
Like one of the central characters in the book I had a lot of questions that took awhile to get answered. The story takes place in two time frames and I found the transition from one time period to another confusing. It was a very interesting story despite my confusion. The story does not gloss over the violence of the 1970's in Northern Ireland. I did finish the book and I am glad I did.