One of our recommended books is The DIstance by Ivan Vladislavić

THE DISTANCE


In his youth in 1970s suburban Pretoria, Joe falls in love with Muhammad Ali. He diligently scrapbooks newspaper clippings of his his hero, recording the showman’s words and taking in his inimitable brand of resistance. Forty years later, digging out his yellowed archive of Ali clippings and comic books, Joe sets out to write a memoir of his childhood. Calling upon his brother Branko for help, their two voices interweave to unearth a shared past. Reconstructing a world of bioscopes, Formica tabletops, Ovaltine, and drop-offs in their father’s Ford Zephyr, conjuring the textures of childhood, what emerges is a collision of memories,

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In his youth in 1970s suburban Pretoria, Joe falls in love with Muhammad Ali. He diligently scrapbooks newspaper clippings of his his hero, recording the showman’s words and taking in his inimitable brand of resistance. Forty years later, digging out his yellowed archive of Ali clippings and comic books, Joe sets out to write a memoir of his childhood. Calling upon his brother Branko for help, their two voices interweave to unearth a shared past. Reconstructing a world of bioscopes, Formica tabletops, Ovaltine, and drop-offs in their father’s Ford Zephyr, conjuring the textures of childhood, what emerges is a collision of memories, patching the gulf between past and present. Meaning arises in the gaps between fact and imagination, and words themselves become markers of the past and the turbulent present. In this formally inventive, fragmented novel, Vladislavić evokes the beauty, and the strangeness, of remembering and forgetting, and explores what it means to be at odds with one’s surroundings.

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  • Archipelago Books
  • Paperback
  • September 2020
  • 210 Pages
  • 9781939810779

Buy the Book

$20.00

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About Ivan Vladislavić

Ivan Vladislavić was born in Pretoria in 1957 and lives in Johannesburg, where he works as a writer and editor. His books include the novels The Restless Supermarket, The Exploded View and Double Negative, and a compendium of short stories titled Flashback Hotel. In 2006, he published Portrait with Keys, a sequence of documentary texts on Johannesburg. He has edited books on architecture and art, and sometimes works with artists and photographers. TJ/Double Negative, a joint project with photographer David Goldblatt, received the 2011 Kraszna-Krausz Award for best photography book. His work has also won the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the Alan Paton Award, the University of Johannesburg Prize, and, most recently, a 2015 Windham Campbell Prize for fiction.

Praise

“South African novelist Vladislavić delivers a moving, closely observed study in family dynamics in a time of apartheid…Vladislavić’s tale unfolds with grace and precision. A memorable, beautifully written story of love and loss.” — Kirkus, Starred Review

Violence meets quiet, action edges toward observation, and personality gives way to place. But where The Distance, like Portrait with Keys before it, asks that the reader build links across and between planes of memory, history, and city, the virtual world with which the book’s past collides is discomfitingly edgeless. Vladislavic is an auteur of this moment of collision. Always hovering just askew of the city he loves, his is a voice for making new spaces within it.” — Jeanne-Marie Jackson, Africa Is a Country

“Ivan’s sentences are like no one else’s; how does he manage to do it? They rise in the air like balloons and never seem to come down. One reads them looking up.” — Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

“A beautifully, thoughtfully crafted novel … [The Distance] seeks to engage the reader — subtly, but in astonishingly many different ways, on questions about everything from race to how one can present narratives, from capturing a boxing match to attempts at autobiography to the films Branko’s son is experimenting with. Vladislavić again shows himself to be an exceptional writer — and this, as perhaps his most readily accessible work (though in fact it is many layers deep), is a good introduction to his work.” — Complete Review