The first third of Martin Crosbie's My Temporary Life lulls you into a sense of safety with the coming-of-age story of Malcolm, a boy abandoned by his mother, who now finds his life split between two continents: Canada and Scotland. In this section of the book, Malcolm's story is that of the nice guy pushed too far. Crosbie's skillful crafting of Malcolm's story made me understand why emotionally-scarred boys, and later men, often resort to violence, almost in spite of themselves.
Then the story shifts, and it does slowly in a way that catches you unaware, toward something a whole lot darker. The chase begins. The story shifts to encompass the parallel story of an emotionally-scarred woman, who also survived an abusive childhood. The plot really picks up speed in the second half. I read the last two-thirds of the novel in one sitting.
Overall, this makes for a intriguing novel with a balanced structure, in that it first shows what having an abusive mother can do to a boy and then what having an abusive father can do to a girl. Not to be missed!