MUST A CHILD'S PAST DEFINE THEIR FUTURE?
'Luminous . . . heartbreaking . . . I haven’t read anything this good in a long time' Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
'Deeply involving . . . rich, shimmering, sensuous' Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit From the Goon Squad
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, and that could make all the difference. 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 hold close to your heart.
Saunders debuts with a penetrating and insightful deconstruction of a Midwestern family. The story starts with Eve and Al, high school sweethearts who marry, have children, and find themselves mired in jealousy and misunderstanding. Throughout, Eve's indomitable spirit won't be quashed, no matter the conflicts or the despair that hover over her family. Firstborn Leon, an athlete with a penchant for ballet, is as opposite from his father as can be imagined. Middle child Ren , a fierce, competitive sprite, takes up ballet like her brother and can do no wrong in her father's eyes, much to Eve's consternation, whose heart lies with her first born. As the family moves from Missouri to South Dakota, where Al grows his cattle business and spends more time away from home, the story contrasts Ren , driven to achieve despite the resentment it causes in everyone who crosses her path and Leon, a misguided soul bearing his father's wrath. The sweet, easygoing youngest child, Jayne, doesn't get the same attention as the other characters. Still, Saunders brilliantly parses Leon and Ren 's disparate paths; they are two wildly talented, sensitive souls one shattered by life's circumstances, the other learning to soar above them. This debut wonderfully depicts the entire lifespan of a singular family.