After Six Days

Description

127 pages
$7.95
ISBN 0-86492-070-9

Year

1985

Contributor

Reviewed by Neil Querengesser

Neil Querengesser taught in the Department of English, University of Calgary, Alberta.

Review

After Six Days is the smooth, glossy portrayal of a climactic week in the lives of two Montreal yuppie couples. Annie, a dress designer, and her husband Warren, a Jamaican English professor, have been friends for ten years with Sarah and Dan, who have careers as a film editor and a lawyer. Told in the first person by these four characters, to each of whom Harrison grants three chapters, the story unfolds swiftly and gracefully. Each chapter portrays a different dimension of the surprisingly long-lasting relationships among these characters and the dynamics that are about to test the limits of their bonds of friendship and marriage. Along the way the reader is treated to sharply etched images of the environment inhabited by these contemporary, no longer upwardly mobile couples.

This is an enjoyable book to read, and Harrison’s talent for realistic depiction of the ironies and tensions of contemporary urban lives of the comfortable and the successful is apparent. Yet the book moves too swiftly. Although the smoothness and the polish of the novel reflect Harrison’s dedication to his art, at the same time they create a sense of inevitability and slickness, drawing the reader away from some of the novel’s deeper, unstated realities. I kept wanting more detail about these interesting characters, kept wishing that some of the scenes would have continued for at least a few more pages, even at the expense of the book’s grace and balance. Instead, I kept catching myself drawing comparisons between these characters and those of an Updike novel, with the Updike characters coming out on top by virtue of their greater development. Even a few rough edges in this novel might have given the reader something more to hold on to.

Citation

Harrison, Keith, “After Six Days,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35845.