By Dennis Bock
Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95, 258 pages
Leaving behind his wife and young daughter, confused and bewildered, Charlie Bellerose returns to Canada, (which was once home) after living in Madrid for many years. Charlie spends his days overseeing the language schools that he has established in many countries while attempting to re-establish a relationship with his estranged brother, Nate, and his two sons. After a serendipitous encounter with a college friend/lover, Charlie contemplates the shared tragedy that altered their lives and set them on very different courses.
“Wasn’t that the greatest irony, that what you need to leave behind are things you’re unable to abandon?”
The narrative bounces back and forth between Madrid and Canada while Charlie tries to help his brother and nephews while maintaining, a primarily long-distant, relationship with his daughter, Ava. Charlie also ponders the mystery of his marriage dissolution. Dennis Bock has written a contemporary novel with some interesting twists and turns that explore the messiness of life, relationships and the lasting consequences of choices we make as individuals.
Reviewed by Kimberly Logan-Elwell