cover image Leaving Tomorrow

Leaving Tomorrow

David Bergen. HarperCollins Canada, $27.99 (273p) ISBN 978-1-44341-138-7

Bergen, whose novel The Time in Between won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2005, returns with a character study of a young aspiring writer. Arthur Wohlgemuht believes he is destined for greatness but feels he can never achieve it in small-town Tomorrow, Alberta. From recounting his birth in 1955 as though he remembers the event to collecting people and experiences that elevate his status, Arthur intriguingly tells his story while simultaneously annoying with self-aggrandizements. The book spans the years from Arthur's birth until his early 20s. His focus on class and finding his place in the world dominates the narrative. Stylistic excellences such as the sentence structure moving from long free flowing trains of thought when Arthur recounts his childhood to more concise sentences as he ages are evident throughout, but the narrative has a pointed lack of description and sense of place. Bergen succeeds in his consistent representation of Arthur, but Arthur's narrow and one-toned perspective of the world through complex experiences such as being directly impacted by the Vietnam War and moving from a small town to raucous Paris prevents the reader from connecting to the character and his exploration of self. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Sept.)