Three different eras exist in The Hidden Bend. There is no rational basis to this choice, though it was deliberate, it seemed a stimulating way of writing the book, and, as the characters are separated and do not meet, the periods in which they live can be any era, even, I suppose, the future, although I never considered that.
I have written short fiction with snow as a central motif, and another short piece which has a man raking autumn leaves for no other reason than I wanted to experience those sensations again: dry cold and powder snow, and the moist smell of decayed leaves, because I was bored with a long run of hot sunny weather – always the same day – as I looked at it through the window of my writing room.
The time periods in The Hidden Bend are not explicit, say with a time and year stamp to tell the reader that this portion of the book occurs in a certain time period which is important to know.
Nastasiya’s story is in the present today, this last decade in any case, as her daughter is studying advanced computing. The soldier’s tale is a merging of time and events in the last forty years. The most bounded by its era is Piers’s story, which is largely set it in the early 1960s, though not absolutely definitely as some references are drawn from a slightly later period.
The time periods are related in small ways, through the appurtenances of life. The temporal objects are not clues, as a detective novel would serve them, there is no end objective in finding them and knowing what they are, rather, they are the commonplace, everyday objects of existence, not important, but which are associated with characters, just as a car, or a coat, is with people in real life.
Being aware of the different eras in The Hidden Bend may not influence the reading, certainly if the names and the objects do not signify something. But the different periods create an abstract time, whether of the present, or at some time in the past, it is the same day.
©Copyright Guy Cranswick 2015. All Rights Reserved.