The Distance Home

The Distance Home

A Novel

Book - 2018 | First edition
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In the years after World War II, the bleak yet beautiful plains of South Dakota still embody all the contradictions--the ruggedness and the promise--of the old frontier. This is a place where you can eat strawberries from wild vines, where lightning reveals a boundless horizon, where descendants of white settlers and native Indians continue to collide; and where, for most, there are limited options. Rene shares a home, a family, and a passion for dance with her older brother, Leon. Yet for all they have in common, their lives are on remarkably different paths. In contrast to Rene, a born spitfire, Leon is a gentle soul. The only boy in their ballet class, Leon silently endures often brutal teasing. Meanwhile, Rene excels at everything she touches, basking in the delighted gaze of their father, whom Leon seems to disappoint no matter how hard he tries. As the years pass, Rene and Leon's parents fight with increasing frequency--and ferocity. Their father--a cattle broker--spends more time on the road, his sporadic homecomings both yearned for and dreaded by the children. And as Rene and Leon grow up, they grow apart. They grasp whatever they can to stay afloat--a word of praise, a grandmother's outstretched hand, the seductive attention of a stranger--as Rene works to save herself, crossing the border into a larger, more hopeful world, while Leon embarks on a path of despair and self-destruction. Tender, searing, and unforgettable, The Distance Home is a profoundly American story spanning decades--a tale of haves and have-nots, of how our ideas of winning and losing, success and failure, lead us inevitably into various problems with empathy and caring for one another.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525508748
Branch Call Number: FICTION SAUNDERS
Characteristics: 292 pages ; 25 cm


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Oct 11, 2018

I enjoyed this journey through MidWestern life. Peacefully disturbing, poignant and brutally honest. I loved the fleshy feeling to this book's story. Moving in every way.

Aug 10, 2018

To want to go home even when you are home. To want more than you could ever be satisfied with. To live with the despair of knowing your dreams will always be bigger than your reality. Saunders explores the consequences of unrequited yearning, illustrating the ways in which a family can tear itself apart by holding each other back. You get the feeling Saunders is writing very much from experience here; the characters are clear and dimensional, each one eliciting empathy and frustration. Although their outcomes are pretty clear, I thought about these people long after I finished the book, still hoping they could pull through and survive. A very thought-provoking and poignant novel.


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