The Space Between
It’s New Year’s Eve and Beth has had enough: she decides to be a recluse. She builds a controlled world within her house of routine, books and silence. For months she is alone with her thoughts, until a dog appears, and then its beautiful owner, Alice. Beth’s space and plans for solitude change.
The story comes as free-form verse, detailing Beth’s year as it progresses. Her thoughts flow as she analyses her solitary life – a poem for a day, a moment, an incident. There is a simplicity to the language but a great complexity to Beth’s emotional states as she deals with her battles with anxiety, self-esteem, agoraphobia and her growing feelings for Alice. The entire text is punctuation-free, except for the question mark when Mouse, Alice’s dog, first appears. Instead, the shape of the verse and the actual space between the words is what makes this diary a story of personal change over time. The pauses reflect Beth’s stream of consciousness at the rawest level, making reading this effortless, to great dramatic effect. The Space Between is extraordinary. Grehan’s work asks us to consider not only the space between words, but also the spaces between people. Grehan’s turn of phrase makes Beth’s voice believable and easy to relate to; it is also a superb choice for reluctant readers. It is a story of discovering hope in others, fighting fears and growing to challenge them.