Reviewed by Nina Longfield

Kevin Fox’s novel, Until the Next Time, is a wonderfully mysterious adventure from New York to Ireland. Filled with engrossing characters, I feel I came to know and understand the motivations of both Sean and Michael Corrigan. On his twenty-first birthday, Sean Corrigan learns that he had an uncle. Sean had never heard of his uncle until his father gives him Michael Corrigan’s journal.

In nineteen seventy-two, Michael Corrigan is a New York City police officer who kills an unarmed man. Unable to prove his innocence, Michael flees to Ireland. In his new found refuge, Michael meets the enigmatic Kate, a woman who knows too much about him yet whom he had never met before. But the troubles of Ireland may prove too much for Michael as he becomes embroiled with the IRA.

Twenty-four years later, Sean follows his Uncle Michael’s footsteps to their ancestral homeland in search of answers. Sean yearns to find the missing pages of his uncle’s journal and to discover what really happened to him. The landscape of Ireland and Ireland’s troubled history play greatly within Fox’s Until the Next Time. Both nature and history reinforce the sense of death and rebirth prevalent throughout this novel. When Sean meets his distant cousin Anne, upon reaching Ireland, he is told that the land is green because blood makes such great fertilizer. This is his warning to let the past remain dead.

Until the Next Time is a haunting novel that remains present long after the cover is closed. Fox’s novel is crisply written with an even flow between Sean’s and Michael’s two different storylines. Until the Next Time is a novel that delves into memory: what was, what is, what may be again, as well as did it really occur as remembered. This is a wonderful trip from New York, across Ireland and time, and back to the present. Until the Next Time made me wonder how much of our lives are our own and not a product of our ancestry; is our individual core touched by those we never knew.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Algonquin Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.