A "riveting family saga" (Mary Karr) set in the American West, about sibling rivalry, dark secrets, and a young girl's struggle with freedom and artistic desire.This moving debut novel is a profoundly American story. Set in a circa-1960s rural South Dakota--a hardscrabble place of cattle buyers, homegrown ballet studios, casual drug abuse, and unmitigated pressure to conform, all amid the great natural beauty of the region--the book portrays a loving but struggling young family in turmoil, and two siblings, Rene and Leon, who opt for different but equally extreme means of escaping the burdens of home. By turns funny and tragic, lyrical and terse, Paula Saunders' debut examines the classic American questions: What is to become of the vulnerable in a culture of striving and power? And what is the effect of this striving and power on both those who dominate and those who are overrun? It is an affecting novel, in which the author's compassionate narration allows us to sympathize, in turn, ...
|Title||:||The Distance Home|
|Number of Pages||:||304 pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Distance Home Reviews
The Distance Home by Paula Saunders
What’s it about?
This is the story of a family growing up on the plains of South Dakota after World War Two. Eve and Al fall in love after high school and soon have three children. Their oldest two, Leon and Rene, share a love of ballet but have very different temperaments. We watch the years pass and watch life take it’s toll on the whole family.
What did it make me think about?
This novel highlights the difficulties of growing u ...more
Growing up in South Dakota in the years after the second world war, Rene and her oldest brother Leon share a passion for ballet but despite having this in common, their experiences within both their community and their own family is very different. Leon is ridiculed by other kids and, more upsetting, his father. He has only his mother to back him up, but her attempts to support Leon are often thwarted because of her overbearing husband. And although Rene is not accepted by her classmates for var ...more
Ya know when you read a blurb for a book but the entirety of the novel is not at all what you expected? Or when throughout the novel you're thinking, "This is okay" but then you get to the end, and after having some time to think about the story as a whole you've somehow changed your tune to "Holy crap, this was way deeper than I thought"? That's The Distance Home. Saunders' writing shows her understanding of the complexity of family dynamics and reaffirms that what life hands us as children has ...more
Even though the plot of this novel is short and simple, I really enjoyed this book. The book was well-written and that made it for me. The characters were deep and at times they were hard to like because of their traits, yet simultaneously they were easy to like because of those same traits. The story went in and out of happy and difficult situations-past and present. It’s a strong story of family and their tragedy of not being able to fit in in the Midwest. Being outcasts to society, and even t ...more
I received this book through the First Reads giveaway program.
A fairly dark and depressing book that goes back and forth between the past and present. Unfortunately it does so often within paragraphs and passages, which can be a bit disconcerting while reading. At times I found myself wondering what the point of the book was and why I was even bothering to spend my time reading it. There are hints of the writing grittiness that you find in styles similar to Updike and Steinbeck, but they are too ...more
“The Distance Home”, by Paula Saunders, took me to a place and time I haven’t been exposed to often in novels; the sparse, wind-swept plains of the Dakotas just after WWII to the present. And it took me into the world of dance. But it also took me inside a highly dysfunctional marriage at a transitional time for gender roles (the 1950s) and a transitional time for American culture (the 1960s).
The novel opens with grown daughters Rene and Jayne, and their very different reactions to their mother ...more
4 family saga stars to The Distance Home! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I am drawn to family sagas, and I never tire of them. The dynamics and character analysis always have great potential. The Distance Home is a moving story of family set in 1960s rural South Dakota.
I was struck first by the atmospheric setting: cattle farms and the natural beauty of the west in South Dakota in contrast with the grittier aspects of this family’s home life. Included in the family of five are the mother, father, older son, and two d ...more
Family sagas and the complex relationships between family members in all their different permutations are an area of fiction I enjoy reading. However, I struggled with Paula Saunders’ debut novel “The Distance Home.” The characters seemed to lack depth and the events that occurred in their lives, particularly to Leon, were heart wrenching and disturbing to read about. It was difficult for me to determine what some of the characters motivations were, much less understand them. I certainly don’t e ...more