This article examines the tensions between subjective time and sociality in Gabrielle Roy’s short story cycle The Road Past Altamont (La Route D’Altamont, 1966), and Catherine Bush’s novel Minus Time (1993). While the two books examine strikingly different temporal circumstances – francophone settler culture in early twentieth-century Manitoba, and the implications of orbital space travel for a Torontonian family near the end of the twentieth century – both works clarify the relationship between social and subjective time. Through these readings I argue that the desire for various levels of social synchronization is a key factor in reading subjective experiences of time, that certain forms of social tension on the level of the family, the society, and even the ecosphere, can best be understood as forms of desynchronization, and that fleeting moments of partial synchronization are deeply necessary for fostering intimacy and connection between individuals, even while total synchronization remains not only elusive, but in fact impossible by definition.
Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.