Caddie Blair feels everything stronglyand so she works hard to keep her
distance. It's the ethical thing for a journalist to do, especially in a
war-torn region like the Middle East. And Caddie wants to believe that nothing
is as important as covering "the story."
There's room for passion in her lifebut that's only physical. And Caddie keeps even those fleeting attachments under wraps, secretive, because she knows that when a journalist even appears to lose her detachment, she is already lost.
So what is Caddie to feel when her lover dies beside hershot in an ambush on the way to the next promising political interview, across the Israeli border into Lebanon?
An authentic look at the emotional and ethical chaos within a war correspondent who becomes a bit too involved, Masha Hamilton's The Distance Between Us is a straight-ahead story of human passiondesire, conviction, and the guilt of a survivorstruggling for order within the frayed justice of the Middle East conflict.
A seasoned journalist herself, Masha Hamilton brings to this revealing novel the sharp eye and deep empathy that marked her debut, Staircase of a Thousand Steps (BlueHen, 2001). Beautifully turned, and peopled with an astounding cast of characters who are as true as they are perceptive, The Distance Between Us is finally the portrait of one woman's search for the narrow pass between vengeance and emotional survival, when her only true attachment has been torn away from her.
"If we knew where we were going to fall," the novel's most enigmatic character tells her, "we could spread straw."
The whole of heaven is off-balance as they rumble out of the city: clouds one
moment, darting sunlight the next. A dust shroud swirling around the Land Rover
prevents Caddie from seeing where they are going or where theyve been. Far
behind them, a mosque wails its hellfire summons to those who believe. Its
noon, then, and men of conviction are submitting their foreheads to the ground
in a graceful wave, while she barrels forward into the formless, blind middle of
The Land Rover rattles like a crate of scrap metal. Her shoulders ache, shes inhaling cupfuls of powdered dirt and they have at least another ninety minutes to go. But those are only irritants. Her real worry is the driver, a complete unknown. Rob and the hotel concierge rounded him up when the regular chauffeur, the one Rob assured her was "the best in Beirut," didnt show. A driver is their lifeline in dusty, uncharted territory. This guy, wellshe catches her ...
Hamilton dedicates her book to
Carter, the Pulitzer-winning photograph particularly known for the
photograph that personified the Sudanese famine - a tiny girl
squatting on scrawny knees, head drooping heavily with a vulture lurking
behind. Two months after collecting his award Carter attached
a garden hose to his exhaust pipe and gassed himself. The note
beside him on the passenger seat read 'The pain of life overrides the
joy to the point that joy does not exist'.
For a summarized history of the region try these links, each covers broadly the same events, but each with their own subtle differences in interpretation.
If you liked The Distance Between Us, try these:
Two young friends caught in Lebanons civil war must choose their futures: To stay in the city and consolidate power through crime, or to go into exile abroad, alienated from the only existence they have known.
The year is 1949 and Nora, a prickly, strong-willed survivor of the Holocaust, has just walked off the boat in Israel with her German daughter-in-law, Louisa. Superb...a seamless interweaving of observation, memory, and imagination...A mature and absorbing story...
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