Distance Paperback – 26 Jun 2008
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"his prose feels utterly contemporary with a smooth, readable texture....it works well ... makes the novel a fast-paced read.'
-- Sunday Telegraph, Matt Thorne<br \><br \>`Distance is a remarkable, penetrating look at the nature of love, the psychology of sex and the role of delusion and fantasy in relationships... Swung was an amazing debut, Distance is considerably better, and Morrison is infuriatingly talented.' -- Doug Johnstone, author Tombstoning and The Ossians<br \><br \>"It's not easy to write about passionate love, but Morrison is completely convincing... In lesser hands, the besotted dialogues and communications between Tom and Meg might being to grate, but here the author makes them utterly compelling... On this form, Morrison is one of the finest novelists around" -- The Times<br \><br \>'A transatlantic romance is brilliantly stretched to breaking point. But after a passionate week together, just how well do Tom and Meg know each other? Secrets and lies mount on two continents, as a face-to-face confrontation inevitably looms' -- The Daily Mirror<br \><br \>'Distance is a remarkable, penetrating look at the nature of love, the psychology of sex and the role of delusion and fantasy in relationships... Swung was an amazing debut, Distance is considerably better, and Morrison is infuriatingly talented.' -- Doug Johnstone, author 'Tombstoning' and 'The Ossians'<br \><br \>'It's not easy to write about passionate love, but Morrison is completely convincing... In lesser hands, the besotted dialogues and communications between Tom and Meg might being to grate, but here the author makes them utterly compelling... On this form, Morrison is one of the finest novelists around' -- The Times<br \><br \>`Morrison can be insightful...This, together with philosophical musings about the nature of affection, bring weight to bear' -- Financial Times, Melissa McClements<br \><br \>`Morrison seems on the button with the mundane routines of long-distance love'
--Independent, Jonathan Gibbs
`incredibly compelling reading... further proving his worth as one to watch on the Scottish literary scene.'
`incredibly compelling reading...further proving his worth as one to watch on the Scottish literary scene' 4* --The List
'Incredibly compelling reading... further proving his worth as one to watch on the Scottish literary scene' - The List --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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.
I cant wait for Morrison's next book to drop through my letterbox
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