THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US

Masha Hamilton

After Middle Eastern war correspondent Caddie Blair loses her colleague and lover in an ambush, she is devastated by grief and unmoored by the sudden loss of her journalistic detachment. Operating without her normal instinct and internal compass, Caddie becomes a member of the community, no longer an outsider, and therefore increas­ingly vulnerable and volatile, especially in the face of her growing desire for revenge. Illuminating and perceptive, The Distance Between Us is as relevant and timely as it is powerful and gripping.

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After Middle Eastern war correspondent Caddie Blair loses her colleague and lover in an ambush, she is devastated by grief and unmoored by the sudden loss of her journalistic detachment. Operating without her normal instinct and internal compass, Caddie becomes a member of the community, no longer an outsider, and therefore increas­ingly vulnerable and volatile, especially in the face of her growing desire for revenge. Illuminating and perceptive, The Distance Between Us is as relevant and timely as it is powerful and gripping.

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  • Unbridled Books
  • Paperback
  • 2005
  • 304 Pages
  • 9781932961140

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About Masha Hamilton

Masha Hamilton worked as a foreign correspondent for ten years in the Middle East and Moscow. She wrote a newspaper column from Moscow and reported for NBC/Mutual Radio. Masha covered the intefadeh, the peace process, and the partial Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Later, she reported on the coup and collapse of the Soviet Union and the growing independence in Soviet republics as well as Kremlin politics. She reported from Afghanistan in the spring 2004 and now works as an editor on the Associated Press foreign desk. Her first novel, Staircase of a Thousand Steps, was a Book Sense 76 Pick and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection.

Praise

A Library Journal Book of the Year, 2004

“[A] great story . . . Will get you thinking and break your heart.” —iVillage.com

“Searing.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

Discussion Questions

What are some of the historical and cultural differences that create distance between the Palestinians and the Jews in this story? How does creating distance influence Caddie’s relationship with Marcus? her professional colleagues? her friends? her community? herself?

In an instant, Caddie loses the two elements of her life most dear to her: Marcus and her professional detachment. How has reporting about violence in the past affected her?

After Marcus’s death, Caddie finds herself drawn closer and closer to dangerous situations. What drives this reckless behavior? What other professions encourage similar forms of escape?

What is behind Caddie’s strong attraction to Goronsky?

Lingering thoughts of revenge plague Caddie. Did you expect this?

The female characters in this novel—including Ya’el, Sarah, Halima, Anya—are diverse women who represent many cultures and values. How does each affect Caddie’s actions and influence her decisions?

Memories of Marcus’s death haunt Caddie. Is she in any way respon­sible for his death, or is she struggling with her own guilt for surviv­ing the ambush? How does Marcus’s journal—and perhaps his death—help her to heal?

Sarah tells Caddie, “Two kinds of people find their way to this place. Those who leave, and those who stay.” Does Caddie’s decision surprise you? How do her personal and professional losses reshape her life?

This fictional account of violence in the Middle East parallels many real-life, contemporary scenarios, both at home and abroad (for ex­ample, the war in Iraq, September 11, Columbine High School, Kosovo, Sarajevo, and Sudan). What motivates the kind of coverage given to these events? Is the reporting informative or voyeuristic?

This book is dedicated to Kevin Carter, a photojournalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his disturbing photo of the famine in Sudan. In the picture, a gaunt Sudanese child crouches low to the ground while a vulture lurks nearby. Not long after winning the Pulitzer, Carter took his life. As a strict observer, journalists sometimes may have to let violence and brutality occur because if they become involved, they may change the outcome of the event or the public’s understanding of a situation. Are there situations when a journalist should become a participant or is it better to remain an observer?