Blog tour: In the Meantime

Welcome to the blog tour for In the Meantime by Alex Fragnière!

More about the book…

A Syrian refugee with a special gift but who is hiding a dark secret. A gay man struggling with childhood ghosts. A harassed mother of two whose husband she suspects is having an affair and a handsome social influencer trying to make a difference. These are among eight apparently unconnected people who find themselves in hospital after becoming infected with Covid. As they drift in and out of consciousness, their lucid, sometimes terrifying, often hilarious visions take each of them on a retrospective journey revealing the circumstances that led them to a hospital bed. Those visions also provide them with a mysterious glimpse into an ‘alternative’ life they could have lived had one moment in their past played out slightly differently.

Set in the north of England but spanning across many corners of the world including Tobago, Northern Cyprus, Poland and Syria, In the Meantime is a novel that explores the complexities of human relationships in all their forms. It asks, if confronted by the spectre of an unexpected ending, how do human beings reflect on the decisions they made and if they have the courage to steer their lives into a path yet untraveled?

Should they be given the chance.

As their stories unfold, we learn how the lives of each of the characters overlap in ways they could never have imagined. What could Nazish, a British Muslim single parent, possibly have in common with Marta, a Polish supermarket employee? How can the life of Majd, a Syrian nurse become intertwined with those of immigration officer, Joseph King and Imogen, the well to do lady who lives in the Peaks? Through the use of humour and pathos, the novel reveals how the fate of all these characters become unexpectedly interlinked and explores how all our lives are often a muddle of joy and laughter sparring with profound sadness, not forgetting all the bittersweet and seemingly inconsequential moments that make up the remaining time we will only get to breathe in once.

When circumstances finally brings all eight characters together, the secrets of lives almost lived encroach into the path they have taken.

In the Meantime is a story of self-discovery and self-reflection, but ultimately it is a reminder of the fragility and beauty of life, where the underlying message is of how precious time is and the importance of living every moment to the fullest.

More about the author…

Alex Fragniere was born on the West coast of Scotland in the early 1970s.  

He completed his education in Scotland and Canada before moving to London to take employment within government.  

More recently he has spent much of his time working in India, Pakistan, Albania, Poland and Jordan – which has contributed in large part to his subject matter.  

He has now returned to the UK with his two Jordanian pugs and lives in Manchester.  

His interests outside creative writing include travel, cooking, social geography, tennis, speechwriting, comedy, diplomatic relations and soul and gospel music – as well as his beloved dogs.

My impressions…

Oh, how much life and how many lives can be found in this book. It was a joy to read from start to finish, and I feel like I have been on a journey with all these characters – sometimes sharing a moment of sadness, sometimes sharing a smile. I feel like it is a wonderful feat for a debut author to create such a cast of well-developed and memorable characters. The fact that the pandemic is still very fresh in our collective experience made it also super relatable and relevant. Highly recommended.

Three words to describe it. Relatable. Sparkling. Thought-provoking.

Do I like the cover? Yes, I love the concept and the colours. It works really well.

Have I read any other books by the same author? No, this is an amazing debut!


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