Minus Time

Catherine Bush, Author Hyperion Books $19.45 (341p) ISBN 978-1-56282-881-3
An extreme case of emotional--and literal--distance occupies Bush in this provocative, if at times overwrought debut. Set in the plausible present day, the story is alternately narrated by and descriptive of 20-year-old Toronto resident Helen Urie, whose mother Barbara is one of two history-making astronauts out to set a record for time spent orbiting the earth. The tale opens during ``minus time,'' the countdown to the launch that carries Barbara and her partner to their space station. Helen henceforth communicates with her mother via telephone and satellite feed. Readers learn that Barbara's unusual detachment was presaged by her intense interest in studying science during Helen's and her brother's childhood; both siblings and their father felt they took a back seat to Barbara's ambitions. (This scenario yields debatable suggestions that career mothers, no matter how capable, cheat their families of attention.) It is often difficult to feel sorry for Helen: her excessive celebrity is unconvincing, as is her paranoia about the media, which eventually drives her underground to anonymously befriend a subversive environmental group. Still, after a long and low-key buildup of Helen's suppressed grievances, Bush arrives at a strong resolution that reunites the Urie family, figuratively at least. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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