Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

The Opening Sky doesn't reveal much, if anything.


If the sky opens in author Joan Thomas's novel, The Opening Sky, it doesn't reveal much. This could be a story about your neighbours and is about as interesting.


Aiden and Liz are a career oriented, upper middle class couple with a daughter, Sylvie, in college. Liz is the director of the non-profit Sexuality Education Resource Centre and Aiden is a therapist.


Their comfortable lives begin to unravel, not a lot mind you, when their daughter becomes pregnant.


This unwanted pregnancy is what drives the novel, though with such a tepid conflict suffice to say it never really gets out of first gear.


While many novels take ordinary people in less than good circumstances and have them step up and do heroic deeds, Thomas's characters do just the opposite, despite ideal circumstances and training they come up short.


Liz seems to define herself by her good taste in decorating, clothes, gourmet cooking, living in the right neighbourhood and holidaying in the trendy destinations. It takes all her time, energy and focus - which is why she does it.


Aiden is one of those people who espouse liberal ideals but does not have the guts to follow through. He subsequently feels powerless and impotent though it's by his own doing - or not doing.


Sylvie is an only child, naive and unrealistic in her cocoon of entitlement, who is constantly proselytizing about how people should make sacrifices to save the planet while having yet to experience life other than attending college and living in a dorm, both funded by her parents.


All the characters in this novel are not only unsympathetic, but insipid. Though at times the plot smolders, it never bursts into flames.


The only redeeming quality in this novel is Thomas's exceptional writing. Unfortunately, whereas a good story can overcome bad writing, the opposite is never true.