"The rooftop was where my father was the most comfortable, where he could be tall and survey life among the quiet chimneys, the broken shingles, the weathered skin of protection between families and the sky."Between Families and the Sky is a two-part novel about love in all its mysterious forms. "The Hole in the Kitchen Floor" tells the story of James Kinnell's teenage years--his grandfather's permanent visit, his mother's new romance after his father's death, and especially his kaleidoscopic feelings for his friend Mirele.
In "The Memory Holes of Garland Rose," a young architect replays scenes from a childhood shaped by the death of her mother, her father's fixation on golf, and the sexual heat between her father and her teacher. As Alan Cumyn draws these searchers together, he creates extended families of complex, loving and eccentric people whose lives dovetail into a rich and satisfying resolution.
"In this two-part coming of age narrative, Cumyn tells interconnected stories about fragmented, dysfunctional families and the lonely eccentrics they spawn. This is an intelligent and moving romance about two people who had just about given up on finding love when, miraculously, they find each other. Cumyn's writing is so beautiful and convincing that it seems effortless, and his characters are so vividly realized that they stay with you long after you close the book." The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal
"Cumyn creates strong, distinct, and convincing narrative voices, and his characters are believable. He conveys a strong sense of characters' inner lives through their words and actions. Cumyn's account of a young man reaching puberty is funny, accurate, and sympathetic; he seems equally comfortable with female sexuality. The prose style is refreshing and metaphorical.... Between Families and the Sky successfully expores the search for love and meaning in family life. It ultimately affirms the wild fecundity of life that transcends both individual and family limitations."Quill & Quire
"Just as captivating as the actual story is Cumyn's writing. His adroitness in describing people, events and feelings is striking, and his characters' dialogue is natural and believable. I often found myself rereading passages where he managed, with just a few words or sentences, to evoke my own childhood emotions with clarity and exactness." The Ottawa Citizen
"Cumyn's style recalls that of Thomas Raddall, Alistair MacLeod, and David Adams Richards--the plain cadence that opens up into grandeur. It would be a failure to not treasure, praise, this book." Halifax Chronicle-Herald