The Distance Home

Paula Saunders

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09 August 2018
256 pages

In 1960s rural America two siblings grow up in a place of love and turmoil. Rene is the apple of her father’s eye: an over-achiever, athletic, clever, the best brain in class, and the best dancer in school. Her older brother Leon, doted on by his mother, is shy, a stutterer, but also a brilliant dancer.

Rene and Leon share a talent, but it is a gift their father adores in his daughter, and loathes in his son. These two children may be best friends, but life promises to take them down very different paths . . .

The Distance Home is the story of two children growing up side by side - the one given opportunities the other just misses - and the fall-out in their adult lives. Funny and tragic, both intimate and universal, Paula Saunders' debut is about how our parents shape the adults we become. It is a hugely moving story of devotion and neglect, impossible to put down – these are characters you will forever press to your heart.

The Distance Home is a deeply involving portrait of the American postwar family: its promises and disruptions . . . surrounded by a rich, shimmering, sensuous landscape

Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

Set in a landscape at once stark and beautiful, here is a luminous novel about the intricacies of family life and family love. The pulls, the twists, the demons, the miracles. Heartbreaking, full of compassion, and prose that feels it has always been there, not even forged from nothing, but essentially true. I haven’t read anything this good in a long time.

Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

In Paula Saunders’ The Distance Home, a family’s story traces the intricate, often subterranean lines that connect damage to redemption, creation to dissolution, and the everyday to the eternal, just to name several of its moving and startling aspects. It’s a true, and rare, accomplishment.

Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours