Friday, 26 March 2010

Book Review: The Distance Between Us

The distance-between-us The Distance Between Us by Masha Hamilton

Category: Fiction

Challenges: Spotlight Series, 2010 Challenge (Who Are You)

Synopsis: American journalist Caddie has been covering the middle-east for some time. On a fairly routine assignment her and her fellow journalists are ambushed. The book deals with the fallout of this event.

My Thoughts: This is a book that although I didn’t love it, it will stay with me for quite some time I think.

The book is set in Israel, both in Jerusalem and Gaza and the conflict there heightens the internal conflict of the main character Caddie. Caddie isn’t sure how to feel about loss of her lover and this causes her to loose her journalistic detachment. The book deals very well with the unmoored feeling I imagine people get when not only do they miss a lost loved one but they feel in part responsible.

I probably have a slightly different view on the Israeli-Palestine conflict, Swedish news actually tends to slant pro-Palestine. So when I chose this book for the Spotlight Series I was a bit concerned that it would slant Israeli (for the record I prefer no slant) but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how unbiased it was. It showed the bad on both sides. It showed how pointless it is. How the violence is perpetuated by both sides.

I don’t normally comment on covers of books but this time I will. I think the cover is perfect for the book. For me the book is dusty, not in subject matter or writing, but in the feeling I get. The brown and blue on the cover perfectly captures this feeling. The dust one gets from dirt roads has an obscuring quality. It distorts facts. It distorts reality. The brown dust on the cover also conveys the heat that one gets in the book. The oppressive heat leads to madness and further emphasises the futility of the conflict and also the futility of Caddies need for revenge.

The reason I didn’t love it has to do with the end so I don’t want to discuss it so that I don’t spoil others. It however will not stop me from reading other things by this author as I found the language lovely and, considering the topic of the book, soothing. I am glad that the Spotlight Series had me considering a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. I will also check out more books published by Unbridled Books as this one was excellent.

Purchase The Distance Between Us from BookDepository

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3 comments:

Aarti said...

Great review, Zee! I remember us chatting and you telling me that Sweden had a pro-Palestine slant of the conflict. I think I will try and find this book as it seems like one that would interest me after Mornings in Jenin.

Thanks so much for participating in the Spotlight Series!

Zee said...

I was actually thinking that I should read Mornings in Jenin after hearing you and Amanda talk about it, I think it would compliment this book quite well. Thank you for hosting the Spotlight Series!

Aths said...

This is a book that I look forward to reading! I read some good reviews lately, and your review makes me want to try it too!