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That was Then/ This is Now, a review

"Reading All Our Yesterdays" copyright 2014 Kristin Fouquet

Only several pages into Erik Tarloff’s novel All Our Yesterdays, I knew I was going to adore it. Was it naïve optimism? Was the plotline already so riveting I didn’t think I’d ever be able to put it down? Maybe a little of both, but the simplest reason was because I immediately loved the protagonist. The story begins with a first person recollection of when he, Zeke, met his love, Molly, at a party in 1968. Through this flashback, the reader gets a glimpse into the decent, good guy he is and will prove to be over time.

The setting is Berkeley in the late 60s and early 70s, a backdrop of rapid social change and heightened political awareness, juxtaposed with contemporary Berkeley. Because of Tarloff’s masterful construction, one is not reliant only on Zeke’s first person account, which occurs in the chapters from the past. These “then” segments shift back and forth with “now” chapters delivered in third person. As enjoyable as Zeke’s perspective is, it’s helpful for the reader to get outside of his head and see him from another angle to appreciate the full story. 

Tarloff has created a believable cast of characters. Flawed and real, they evolve and make decisions, changing relationships and the dynamic of the group. The writing style is fluid with moments of tension and intrigue. Intelligent, funny, and engaging dialogue illuminates the lively interactions among the characters.

All Our Yesterdays is as much an enduring love story between Zeke and Molly as it is an homage to the unique city of Berkeley, which has undergone its own evolution.

Find out more here: All Our Yesterdays

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Dimitri Fouquet

(1943-2002)

New Orleans artist