In Between: Art, meditation, Buddhism, martial arts, syndicated crime

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews R.A. MacAvoy In BetweenIn Between by R.A. MacAvoy

In Between is a novella by R.A. MacAvoy about Ewen Young, a Chinese-American painter who early in the story is held up by three gangsters — a threat to his uncle who apparently is behind on some gambling debts. Ewen is a fascinating character who seems to have some latent psychic powers… something that becomes more and more apparent as the story develops.

In Between is one of those novellas that feels and reads like a really tightly compressed novel (as opposed to, say, a stretched-out short story). The plot moves along very quickly, to the point where it sometimes feels rushed. Some characters are sketched rather than drawn in detail, and some of their backstories are barely hinted at. The novella consists of many very short scenes, often just 1 or 2 pages, and touches on a wide range of themes — art, meditation, Buddhism, martial arts, and syndicated crime — which reinforces the feeling that some of this material could have been developed in more depth in a full-length novel. There’s a lot left to be read between the lines here.

As a newcomer to the works of R.A. MacAvoy, I enjoyed In Between, mainly because of Ewen, who deserves a full novel, but also because of the subtle spirituality of the story. At about 100 pages, this is a quick, enjoyable read that hopefully will be the base for a full-length novel in the future.

In Between — (2009) Novella. Publisher: Ewen Young is just another up and coming young artist leaving one of his art shows when he is accosted by three Chinese thugs. After he fends them off, they leave him with a message: tell your uncle Jimmy Young we were here and we could have done much worse to you. The next day Ewen goes to visit his uncle, and finds him lying in a pool of blood amidst the smell of gunpowder. As Ewen rushes to him, the thug emerges from the shadows to shoot Ewen too. Uncle Jimmy has died, but Ewen has just started his journey through the In Between.

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STEFAN RAETS (on FanLit's staff August 2009 — February 2012) reads and reviews science fiction and fantasy whenever he isn’t distracted by less important things like eating and sleeping. In February 2012, he retired from FanLit to focus on his blog Far Beyond Reality.

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