From the outset, you know “In Between Days” (Knopf, $24.95) by Andrew Porter is about a family with problems. And just as things seem to be getting better, something else happens.
Elson Harding is an architect who has known better days, personally and professionally. He and his wife, Cadence, are separated and on the verge of divorce. His standing in the firm where his designs are no longer popular seems tenuous at best. His affair with a much younger woman has grown routine, and he fears she might be tiring of him.
His son Richard, a poet and college student, is gay and still living at home except when he's passed out from drugs. Youngest child Chloe is coming home from an East Coast college, and only her mother knows she has been kicked out for some reason.
It seems as if things can't get much worse. But don't bet on it. As the story progresses, we learn that Chloe's boyfriend, a foreign student, faces charges of assaulting a student who had been harassing him as a Muslim. Chloe has been accused of trying to cover it up. It is feared the injured boy may not recover.
Meanwhile, a professor has offered to help Richard get into a graduate program for creative writers at another university. Richard is not sure he's interested, and he's not sure the professor's interest in him is purely professional.
The young people, more resilient than their parents, seem finally to be working things out. But you can't help wondering what might happen if there were one more chapter in the book.
— Kay Dyer