Item description for The Distance Between Us by Masha Hamilton...
Caddie Blair, a war correspondent, loses her photojournalist lover and her detachment in one tragic moment during an unexpected ambush in the war-torn Middle East. An authentic look at the emotional and ethical chaos she feels and the consequences when she becomes too involved in the story she is covering. The Distance Between Us is a straight-ahead story of human passion--desire, conviction, and the guilt of a survivor--struggling for order within the frayed justice of the Middle East conflict.
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A journalist who has worked for NBC Mutual Radio, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and other well-known news organizations, Masha Hamilton is the author of The Distance Between Us and Staircase of a Thousand Steps. She lives with her family in New York City.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Distance Between Us?
Exploring the Human Desire for Revenge Jan 8, 2008
Masha Hamilton captures the intense spirit and courage of Caddie Blair, an American reporter covering the Middle East (like Hamilton herself for ten years) whose lover, a fellow journalist, dies in a roadside bomb while on an assignment in Lebanon. Through Caddie's palpable grief, Hamilton explores the human hunger for revenge that fuels the back-and-forth violence in the West Bank. Caddie considers her boss's offer to leave Jerusalem in favor of a safe job in New York, and searches for relief and understanding in her former lover's collage-like photo journals. Will she ever get her groove back as a detached reporter?
Hamilton makes you admire the courage of this female journalist. In fact, the book is dedicated to "Kevin Carter and journalists everywhere who put their bodies and their souls on the line to cover war." Near the end of the book, in the middle of a violent scene, Caddie has images of her lover Marcus (and Kevin Carter - an unidentified character) flash in her head. I would love to ask Hamilton who Carter is and what the role he played in inspiring this story. Hamilton paints a gorgeous, tender tribute to Jerusalem and its horrifying, inescapable violence.
The writing is fantastic, but the plot is disturbing when Caddie goes on excursions into the West Bank in order to participate in revenge against Arabs. But then again, maybe that's the point of the book. I don't understand the desire for revenge, and I was uncomfortable with Caddie's state of mind. Americans try to broker peace in the Middle East, but as outsiders, will we ever truly understand the motivations of the actors? We need to listen before we can demand peace. After all, "listening is a form of accepting." (Stella Terrill Mann). Caddie's new ability to listen, and not merely report, seems like a small beacon of hope for a tragic part of the world.
Great book, but be prepared to be disturbed.
Also by this author: The Camel Bookmobile (2007)
awful kitsch Sep 29, 2007
Hamilton offers only stock characters & stereotypical incidents. This skims the surfaces but gives little sense of lived experience, in spite of the author's background. Though filled with equal measures of sex and violence, the novel simply fails to engage the reader, in spite of the promising early pages. Readers seeking a richly written, thoroughly gripping and truly authentic portrait of the Middle East, should turn to Robert Stone's wonderful novel "Damascus Gate" instead.
Gripping and important Apr 11, 2007
This book reads like a first rate thriller--the plot is engrossing, the action fast-paced, and the writing is spare and evocative. The deeper message, about commitment and redemption, builds almost imperceptibly, so that the profoundly moving denouement feels both revelatory and inevitable.
Dark, Exlporation Journey But Not For Everyone May 4, 2005
Catherine Blair, who goes by Caddie, is a dedicated journalist assigned to the war-torn middle east. She takes her job very seriously, maintaining a professional's detachment and objectiveness.
She allows herself to get close to one colleague, Marcus. Only physically close, however, as they differ at times on the directions the stories they are working on should take.
Their schedule is grueling, the conditions insufferable and what they witness daily is more than the average person can stand. Almost all correspondents can only take six months on duty before needing to "recoup" on home soil. But Caddie feels an honest affinity for the lands and their people and finds the idea that she is merely the eyes and ears for the people back home a little disturbing.
The dedication page says it all:
"For Kevin Carter and journalists everywhere who put their bodies and their souls on the line to cover war."
This book is about the horrors that the people who live in war zones must endure at the hands of leaders consumed with hate and lustful for power. But it's also about one woman's journey of self-discovery, traversing her inner heart and mind which are as desolate as the lands she covers. Haunted by memories and aided by photographic diaries, she is able to put down her other colleagues's jeers about her "constant need for bloodletting" and make her stand.
This type of subject is hard to write about and is usually tackled by men via spy or 'hard-hitting journalism' genres. So it is unusual to see women writers venturing into this territory.
Written in a 'you-are-there' style, Hamilton presents this story in a surrealistic form - giving you the perspective that you are witnessing the events as they happen, but are seeing everything from a distance...the distance between you.
closing the distance Apr 6, 2005
Just as she did in her highly acclaimed novel, Staircase of a Thousand Steps, foreign correspondent Masha Hamilton once again closes the distance between us and those we see depicted at the top of the news. In Caddie Blair, Ms. Hamilton has created a character as conflicted as the region she covers, the Middle East...and that's a good thing!