By: Doug Reid
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: August, 2020
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: August 2020
A man and a woman find each other, love each other, and learn to reach beyond the binding of the physical to stay together in this richly conceived fantasy by author Doug Reid.
In the early chapters of this engaging creation, there is a simple thread of reality. Patrick, a dedicated neurologist, meets Emily, a lovely young woman wearing a diamond hair clip and drinking hot chocolate in a coffee shop at the hospital where he works. Not long afterwards, Emily becomes Patrick’s patient, suffering from a rare disease that affects her memory. But worse is a brain cancer that in all probability will, Patrick knows, soon take her life. She is admitted to the hospital, partly because Patrick wants to be able to see her every day, and the two begin to share their life stories. Patrick may be an orphan, although he has an African “brother,” both of them mothered by the psychic Alessandra. Emily often speaks of a dark river, symbolic to her of a tragedy that scarred her childhood. Alessandra somehow knows that river, knows Emily, and in some mystical way, will become the loving, understanding mother that Emily needs. Together, in love, Patrick and Emily share snippets of conversation as she lies in her hospital bed.
Emily often says, “You should always tell someone if you love them.” This becomes the central theme interwoven through this imaginative tapestry, guiding the lovers as they confront the reality of illness and death while experiencing the mysteries of a place above and beyond.
Reid, who has a wide range of knowledge including a Masters degree in Applied Physics, has been writing much of his life. His novel is an emotive welding of fact and fancy, with much inner truth to be shared with the reader. He seems to have a grasp on the memory glitches experienced by Emily; her pattern of forgetfulness has a realistic feel, and Patrick, who understands the syndrome, handles it with sensitivity and good humor. Their love is apparent through Reid’s well-articulated vision, and the character of Alessandra hovers over the narrative like an angelic presence throughout. At a certain point, the reader, like Emily and Patrick, will care less what is real and what is not, knowing that no matter what may transpire, love endures.
Quill says: The Glorious Between is a cinematically staged, magical exploration based in reality, while guiding the reader to parallel realms where love conquers and lovers can find unsullied contentment.