Going Home Again
Going Home Again
By Dennis Bock
Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9781400044634, 257pp.
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
After two acclaimed historical novels, one of Canada’s most celebrated young writers now gives us the vibrant, contemporary story of a man studying the suddenly confusing shape his life has taken, and why, and what his responsibilities—as a husband, a father, a brother, and an uncle—truly are.
Charlie Bellerose leads a seminomadic existence, traveling widely to manage the language academies he has established in different countries. After separating, somewhat amicably, from his wife, he moves from Madrid back to his native Canada to set up a new school, and for the first time he forges a meaningful relationship with his brother, who’s going through a vicious divorce. Charlie’s able to make a fresh start in Toronto but longs for his twelve-year-old daughter, whom he sees only via Skype and the occasional overseas visit. After a chance encounter with a girlfriend from his university days, a woman now happily married and with children of her own, he works through a series of memories-including a particularly painful one they share-as he reflects on questions of family, home, fatherhood, and love. But two tragic events (one long past, the other very much in the present) finally threaten to destroy everything he's ever believed in.
“A beautiful and multi-layered novel. . . The natural, understated elegance of Bock’s prose quickly becomes quite addictive. His narrator’s conversational style contributes to a delicious feeling of intimacy, as though we’re listening to a good friend.” —Lindsay McKnight, Winnipeg Free Press
“A page turner, a book so hard to put down I read it in two evenings. . . . The characters Bock imagines and creates—adults and children, Canadians and Spanish—seem like people we know already with their peccadilloes and charms, even though Bock has such fresh insight into human behavior. He has an essential eye. . . The story is sad yet hopeful, brisk yet thoughtful, reflecting Bock’s generous talents as a storywriter.” —Jennifer Hunter, The Toronto Star
“Finely crafted, disarmingly casual prose that quietly penetrates the reader’s mind and heart…. On one level, the novel captures the difficulty men have reading woman; on a deeper level, Bock plumbs issue of memory, moral responsibility and what constitutes a man’s real love for a woman.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Excellent, and sensitively written. Going Home Again is a story bound up in complex emotions and subtle character development, sad and yet hopeful with its haunting reminder that we are damned or redeemed by our passions.” —Linden MacIntyre, Giller Prize-winning author of The Bishop’s Man and Why Men Lie
“A tense, riveting, beautifully layered novel, Going Home Again is an exquisite story of a complex and troubled family. Dennis Bock is a superb writer.” —Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo