||Brief Reviews - Fiction
by Robert Ruttan
BERNICE MORGAN'S WAITING for Time (Breakwater, 224 pages, $17.95 paper) is the compelling story of two women, two centuries, and, finally, one place. The place is Cape Random, Newfoundland, a remote spot where life has always been marginal and destiny shaped by outside forces -- nature, greed, or incompetent governments.
Mary Bundle, born in the reign of George 111, arrives as a homeless single mother and, in a largely unromanticized account, finds (or forces) a place in the community. Lav Andrews, born during the Second World War (and remotely related to Mary Bundle) eventually settles in roughly the same place, abandoning a government job and an academic life. Lav's story tends toward the romantic, though not in too distasteful a fashion; she is affected by disillusionment, of course, but also by the narrative of a stolen old book, and by her recognition in that book of a place she can call home.
For the most part, Waiting for Time does exactly what character- and plot-driven novels ought to do: it creates a world the reader must know about. While not flawless -- occasionally, there is too much told, too much description - - it is a difficult book to put down or stay away from. Anyone who shares Lav's desire for meaningful place, however rough and imperfect, for a past that resonates in the present, will find Waiting for Time more than a good read. They will find it a lesson: the path is hard, the destination unexpected.