BookBrowse Reviews The Distance Between Us by Masha Hamilton

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The Distance Between Us

by Masha Hamilton

The Distance Between Us by Masha Hamilton
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2004, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2005, 304 pages

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The plotting is flawless. The pacing is just right.

From the book jacket: Caddie Blair feels everything strongly—and 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 life—but 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 her—shot 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 passion—desire, conviction, and the guilt of a survivor—struggling for order within the frayed justice of the Middle East conflict.

Comment: Hamilton's second novel (following Staircase of a Thousand Stairs) is set in Israel and the Gaza Strip (where the local children play 'soldiers and martyrs', not cowboys and Indians) and explores the emotional and ethical chaos within a war correspondent who tips over the line from detached observer to being too involved.  

A couple of reviewers find minor faults - for example, Kirkus Reviews feels it is 'emotionally distant and overly cerebral' while Booklist believes that a particular plot angle is a 'red herring'.  However, in general all are very positive, for example, The San Francisco Chronicle believes that 'the plotting is flawless, the pacing is just right—sometimes reflective, sometimes action-packed', while Library Journal says ' with prose both beguiling and elegant, the story will strike a chord in readers following current events in the Middle East'.

Personally, I thought it was excellent. My recommendation is that if you really want to understand a place and people it isn't enough to read about them in the newspaper, instead you must meet the people themselves.  Most of us won't be visiting the Gaza Strip in person anytime soon, but Hamilton's excellent book can take you there, and let you listen in on what the people think and do, from the comfort of your own living room.

This review is from the October 19, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



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