Going Home Again
After twenty years living in Spain, middle-aged Charlie Bellerose returns to Toronto to expand his international chain of language schools. Charlie’s story, told in a series of nested flashbacks, is a first-person narrative that meanders and rambles through vaguely related events that not even Charlie seems to care about.
Charlie has separated from his wife, and his move to Canada has put a strain on his relationship with his daughter, who, at twelve, might be the only person who has noticed the touch-and-go patterns of Charlie’s nomadic life. He is reunited with his estranged brother, Nate, who is also going through a divorce. While Charlie is an affable, if flat, character whose internal monologue is snappy but devoid of introspection, Nate is an utterly unsympathetic jerk. When Nate disappears and Nate’s soon-to-be ex-wife’s new partner dies mysteriously, it’s hard to understand why Charlie would bother solving the mystery.
Going Home Again is a deliberately misleading title, meant to convey that Charlie will never truly find his home, will always be struggling to define family and to feel rooted. To care about Charlie’s struggle, though, we have to care about Charlie, and that never quite happens.
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