Elizabeth Gibson reviews The Space Between Us

Posted 21 May 2019 by Writing Squad

Space BetweenThe Space Between for me is proof that word-of-mouth recommendation can really work, and gives me hope that beautiful, unusual books from indie publishers can find a deserved audience. A year ago, I wasn’t seeing this book in shops. However, I took part in regular Twitter book chats, covering issues like mental health and queer representation, and every now and again someone would mention The Space Between as a hidden gem they really, really loved. I looked it up and the blurb spoke to me, so I took a punt and ordered it. It fast became one of my favourite books.

The is a cuddle or a picnic or a warm drink in book form. It is cosy and gentle and unpretentious. It is written in verse, which gives breathing space for the heart of the story and the emotions of the main character, Beth, to lead the way, without being crowded by endless description or melodrama. We follow just three characters: Beth, her mysterious new friend, Alice, and Alice’s dog, Mouse. The entire story takes place in Beth’s house and garden, and within the space of a year. There is a purity to it, without being cheesy.

The burgeoning love between the characters feels organic and real, while maintaining a lovely otherworldly quality, like a fairy-tale. Difficult issues are confronted without hesitation, but also without the novel feeling patronising, or as if it were attempting to tick boxes – everything in there feels like it should be there. There are also refreshingly frank depictions of different body types, and of female sexual desire and pleasure. I am now starting to see The Space Between pop up in bookshops, and I approve, but do check out libraries, too, and give this gorgeous book a go. It is different from anything else I’ve read.

Elizabeth GibsonReviewer Biography

Elizabeth Gibson is a Manchester-based writer and spoken-word performer. She has won a Northern Writer's Aware and been shortlisted for the Poetry Business' New Poetry Prize. Her writing touches on city life, nature, queerness, and physical and mental health. She tweets as @Grizonne and blogs at http://elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.co.uk. She will be appearing at Bad Language in Manchester on 29 May.

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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