Every Five Minutes
This is a beautifully crafted story about love, but it never-the-less cleverly leaves so much unsaid. Words like ‘I love you’ are unnecessary and time isn’t always about yesterday, tomorrow or next week …time is a touch, a smile, a smell, each transporting a lover to memories they may want to sink into. By these visceral descriptions the reader gains a clear insight into the thoughts and reactions of the two main characters, Gina and Mark.
Mark seems to know intuitively what is on Gina’s mind. Although he lives a very ordered life, and wears an “anti-wedding ring to repel predators”, he is gentle, extremely patient and he loves his dog, Electra. Electra is an intermediary between two people skirting around a love affair that wants so much to happen. It falters and stumbles because of the protective wall Gina has built around herself against the risks of intimacy. We never learn the detail of what has happened to Gina in her past, but you get the gist by her gestures and actions. Mark always seems to understand, lets Gina lead the way, well mostly. His minutely planned inventiveness in getting Gina to say ‘yes’ is surprising, when all she wants to do is to think about ‘it’ for two or three weeks.
The style of writing is refreshing, the format quirky. New Zealand author Bronwyn Elsmore puts it all together in a way that allows the reader, from the first few sentences, to know Gina and her foibles well. We come to empathise with her deepest fears, respect why she needs her comfort zones that border on the neurotic. At the same time, her persistent suitor, Mark, manages to steal our hearts.
This is a relatively small book of 187 pages. The author could easily have written the same story with double the number of pages, and words, but it would have been a completely different work. It may then have been thrown into the genres of either Chick Lit or Romance. Instead, we have a powerful novel about a once-in-a-lifetime-love, which would sit comfortly on shelves dedicated to ‘Behavioural Psychology’ or perhaps even ‘The Philosophy of Relationships’ in a library
Such a bitter sweet story; funny, heart-breaking, whimsical and endearing. You will find yourself alternatively smiling, tearing up, or sighing, as you turn the pages.
– Anne Frandi-Coory 9 March 2016