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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weirdly compelling
I didn't like this book but I couldn't stop reading it. It was addictive, not in the way of chocolate, more like rubber-necking a car crash. Two distinctly unlikeable characters who clearly think their particular brand of love (mostly physical kind) has a profundity that makes it special. The reality is that the sex passages are overly long and ugly and unreflective of...
Published 22 months ago by Penelope Simpson

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really poor
I really didn't enjoy Distance. That's a shame, and a surprise, as I had enjoyed Ewan Morrison's story collection: The Last Book You Read.

Distance sets out a long distance relationship between Meg, a New York based film script editor, and Tom, who works for an advertising agency in Edinburgh. Trouble is, none of it was remotely plausible and mostly it was...
Published on 22 Mar 2009 by MisterHobgoblin


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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really poor, 22 Mar 2009
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MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Distance (Paperback)
I really didn't enjoy Distance. That's a shame, and a surprise, as I had enjoyed Ewan Morrison's story collection: The Last Book You Read.

Distance sets out a long distance relationship between Meg, a New York based film script editor, and Tom, who works for an advertising agency in Edinburgh. Trouble is, none of it was remotely plausible and mostly it was overlong, boring and contrived. I have some experience of long distance relationships and for the most part, the challenge is dealing with different biorhythms (e.g. you are fresh in the morning as your partner is tired and going to bed), yet in the novel, this is shown as the challenge of knowing when your partner will be awake. Timezones are easy to get right - biorhythms are the problem. And there is the challenge of finding new ways to talk about a day that was the same as the last one. And there is the challenge of getting cheap phone lines to stop disconnecting, or of Skype not to collapse. In such a relationship, you have to trust your partner, and Tom and Meg do not trust one another - with good reason. This simply could not work.

Tom and Meg are both unlikeable and neither seems to have much respect for the other. The reasons why they started a relationship are obscure; the reasons why they are apart are also obscure; and the reasons why they want to be together absolutely mystified me. The plot was full of holes; errors of detail strewn all over the place. For example, Tom describes Edinburgh Airport as being tiny, having only three gates. Hmmm. In reality it has 19. Tom has decided that Meg cannot live in Edinburgh in the winter because it would be too cold and dark. But New York is not terribly different. Tom's Edinburgh is poor, run down and only has visitors for the three weeks of the Fringe Festival. I think not... Edinburgh is seen as being inaccessible from New York - whereas in reality there are direct flights taking under 7 hours costing 255 return.

The narrative devices are too obvious, too. The first device is Meg's journal. This is mostly dull navel-gazing and romantic psychobabble. Meg's diary reveals her to be a bit control freaky and mad keen for the relationship with Tom to work, although there seems to be no obvious reason that she is attracted to him. She articulates how far he is from her ideal man - he is aggressive, alcoholic, negative. So why the relationship? And why, when she has no obvious reason to stay in New York, does she have to wait so long to travel to Edinburgh?

The second strand of narrative is more conventional, with Tom setting out his daily life in Edinburgh in frst person narrated chapters. Tom seems to hate Edinburgh and hate Scotland - except when he is patriotic in a scene on a bridge in New York (from which he threatens to jump). He is chronically alcoholic, negative, dishonest, incompetent and jealous - yet he seems to be professionally successful and women are willing to throw themselves at him. How so?

And the third strand are the telephone calls between Tom and Meg, in which they really talk only about Tom and Meg. Day to day details of life are not mentioned unless the plot demands it. Together, the three strands make an unhappy blend of psychobabble-romance, lad-lit and porn. None of it terribly well done, and it's not immediately obvious who the target readers might be. And, to add to the irritation factor, Tom's son Sean has a stutter. That makes for really slow, annoying reading.

The ending, when it comes - and how long it takes to get there... - is utterly implausible and overblown. Not least of this was the apparent dramatization of the story into a film, with audiences moved to tears and hailing it as profound. Presumably Ewan Morrison holds his own novel in the same regard. But that is really something he should have left for others to judge, rather than signal in his own text.

This is a novel that has a simple idea, that might have worked as short story or novella in the hands of a better writer, but stretched to an eye watering 410 long pages. It really is a novel with almost no redeeming features. Please don't waste your time and money on it.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weirdly compelling, 13 Sep 2012
By 
Penelope Simpson "penny simpson" (dorset, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Distance (Paperback)
I didn't like this book but I couldn't stop reading it. It was addictive, not in the way of chocolate, more like rubber-necking a car crash. Two distinctly unlikeable characters who clearly think their particular brand of love (mostly physical kind) has a profundity that makes it special. The reality is that the sex passages are overly long and ugly and unreflective of the love we are meant to believe in.

So, we have an unbelievable plot, unappealling lovers and indulgent writing. But, somehow, it works. Give it a go - speed read the son with the stutter stuff which never goes anyhwhere - but enjoy the navel gazing, it's well done.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 26 July 2009
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Ms. Joanna S. King (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Distance (Paperback)
Both Meg and Tom have hang ups and through this book I found myself siding with each of them at different times. The story tells of a long distance 'relattionship' with all the expectation in the waiting, what will happen next scebarios- good to see the emoltions from the male and female perspective. Ewan Morrison writes well- will check out his other titles. Def. worth checking out
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5 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Life Close Up, 27 April 2009
This review is from: Distance (Paperback)
I read 'Swung' by Ewan Morrison last year, then went and searched out his first book, 'The Last Book You Read'. I liked them because they both seemed to be really modern in outlook, dealing with all those 21st century hang-ups and paranoias when dealing with relationships and jobs too. But they were also really emotionally powerful, most of all when dealing with how people try (and sometimes fail) to make love work. Which is why Distance is now my favourite of Morrison's books - because it brings all those things together. He manages to write about sex in a way that doesn't make it smutty, no matter how extreme it is, and through the long-distance relationship between Tom and Meg (between New York and Scotland) Morrison managed to make me think a lot about not only these people, but also what they represent in wider modern society. In places really sad, but always well written. I reckon this guy is one of the best in the UK at the moment. Go buy it!
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7 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book crosses your mind over and over again after you've read it., 13 Aug 2008
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This review is from: Distance (Paperback)
This is the story of Meg and Tom. Tom from Edinburgh, Meg from New York. They meet over one week in New York, and then launch into a long distance relationship through calls, texts, emails, while at the same time attending to life as they know it at home.

This is another BRILLIANT book by Ewan Morrison. Real, true, vivid, moving, and haunting with regards to its raw, intense conversations between two people who have fallen in love almost instantly. Throughout the book they are trying to make sense of what's happened in the week they were together and what will happen when Meg comes to Scotland. Meg is also documenting their story in the form of a screenplay.

The ending in particular had me bolt upright in bed reading ferociously. This writer really does have you on the edge of your seat dying to know the outcome. The drama coupled with atmospheric, heartwrenching scenes can be pictured as if watching a movie. I couldn't put this book down.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest love story, 11 May 2009
This review is from: Distance (Paperback)
Another great read by Ewan Morrison, Distance was a book i just couldn't put down. A love story how it should be told, gritty and honest with deeply insecure characters you cant help but sympathise with. I laughed, i cringed and i even cried at the scenes involving toms relationship with his stuttering son. The surprise ending left me stunned and i couldn't get through the final few pages fast enough to find out what the outcome was for meg and tom.

I cant wait for Morrison's next book to drop through my letterbox
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Distance
Distance by Ewan Morrison (Paperback - 26 Jun 2008)
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