Out of Sync
written by Belinda Nicoll
published by Belinda Nicoll
Why did I pick this book: EFC did a spotlight, along with an excerpt and author guest post, for Out of Sync in August 2013, and the author offered us a copy for review. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: As someone who’s filled many a journal (and thereby killed many a tree), I understand Nicoll’s desire to “write it out.” I’m actually going through the process of sorting (err, tossing) my old writing right now, and I’ve discovered about Nicoll something I was loathe to discover about myself: we’re whiners. We write about how terrible our lives are (even when they’re not that bad), how toxic our relationships are (even though they’re not really), and generally how awful the world, from our point of view, happens to be (OK, well, that one might be true).
There’s a fine line between writing a journal and writing a memoir: mainly (in my mind, anyway), memoirs tend to have a bit more of a theme than straight-out journaling. I guess . . . this book just doesn’t fit the genre of memoir for me. I was expecting a unifying theme, but Nicoll veered from meditation to politics to advertising and back again. I think maybe it’s this: you write a memoir because you’ve done something remarkable or something remarkable has happened to you, whereas you write a journal to purge. And let’s face it, unless you’re Anais Nin, your purging probably isn’t as exciting as you think it is.
I’d like to read Nicoll’s upcoming novel; in keeping with my Nin references, there’s a great deal of difference between one’s personal writing and one’s fiction . . . I haven’t given up on Nicoll yet.
Would I recommend it: Not this time, but I’m withholding judment about her skills as a fiction writer.
About the book – from Goodreads: In 2001, when a couple leaves South Africa for a stay abroad, they land at JFK International Airport on September 11th, unprepared for the sight of smoke billowing from the Manhattan skyline or the horror of a second plane exploding into the North Tower. Over the next ten years, as their host country confronts fundamental change of its own, their marriage buckles under the strain of their disparate experiences. With the international economic crisis making it all but impossible for them to return to their country, they relocate from California to the North, the South, and the Midwest searching for a place they can call home. Against the backdrop of uncertainties in post-apartheid South Africa, Belinda Nicoll unfolds a contemporary and thought-provoking account of post-9/11 America’s tantalizing hopes and unexpected disappointments. Out of Sync is an insightful tale about marital endurance that promises to enthrall anyone, expatriate or not, who has ever felt at odds with themselves or the world.