I’ve been wanting to write about this book for a while now. But every time I went to do it, I felt like I hadn’t articulated my response strongly enough. So what I’m going to do instead is offer you an edited version of the email I sent to Vikki:
… Inbetween Days, to me, represents the absolute best of what a work of literary fiction can be. You’ve done something that can’t even be fully explained (the magic of art!); you’ve really stretched, and you’ve carried it off. I love this book fiercely. It is THAT good. It’s YA, but also beyond YA – something universal.
Also, I think you’re a Word Witch. The writing is uncannily beautiful. The characters are SO REAL. And Mobius – I was in awe of what you did with place – it had surreal touches that were perfect, exactly what I need most in a story (it feeds something from childhood).
I loved Jack’s fierceness and her vulnerability, and Jeremiah – so much. Even Luke – I wanted to have less sympathy for him, but of course I couldn’t. I think that’s the sign of a really good writer. There are no villains, only humans.
There were things in the story that slayed me. I was teary (in a really good way) for about the last forty pages. ‘You are my people’; when Mr Broadbent waved; when her dad didn’t notice the lovely dinner Ma had cooked; when Ma thanks Jeremiah’s mum for the doily and says she hates it (laughed so hard) … So many things. I want to keep going but I suspect it’s probably horrible when someone recites your own book back at you.
The moment when she lets Mr Broadbent run free, though – I have to mention that. It’s glorious.
You made me realise that life happens in the waiting (I hope to God that isn’t an actual line from the story!). Not just while we’re young, but the whole way through (I know YOU know that that is a theme of your book – but I mean you have made me see things differently). And I love how you took small things and made them into casual miracles. The recurring motif of the eggs … the picture frames … See? I can’t even stop.
I also feel grateful because it’s made me want to work. I don’t feel jealous, I don’t feel threatened, I feel inspired to work on my own stuff, and work hard.
Yeah, that was the edited version. Not even the full gush. I left the last paragraph there because I think it shows you where things are at now for me. The last couple of years have been wilderness years. And while sometimes it was nice to have been lost, at other times it felt scary. But I worked out what sustains me, writing wise. It’s a two-pronged answer, and you can’t get excited about one without the other:
The work. And other people’s work.
Okay. That was deep. Let’s get out of here.