A Good Distance [NOOK Book]

Overview

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA
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A Good Distance

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Overview

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA
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Editorial Reviews

Deborah Mason
An artfully defiant work of fiction, A Good Distance stubbornly hews to the unruliness of life as it is negotiated daily and as that negotiation shapes our stories, whether we like it or not.
The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Dying mother, guilt-stricken daughter. Having fun yet? Jennifer certainly isn't, and neither is her second husband Todd. Jazz, her teenaged daughter from the first marriage, makes caustic remarks and flounces around. No one is happy. Yet Jennifer keeps her Alzheimer's-afflicted mother at home, in hopes of atoning for some unnamed sin of hers and of somehow making up for Rose's difficult, Depression-era-haunted life. Rose seldom recognizes even the most familiar faces anymore, and confuses Jennifer and Jazz. Her memories intertwine with Jennifer's narrative, not that either woman ever amounted to much or did (or does) anything out of the ordinary. A remember-this, remember-that singsong deadens the clipped prose, abetted by grim or portentous details: Remember when Nana had her first stroke. Remember how we used to make love. Remember the dinosaurs at the museum. Finally, Todd is discovered going on-line to chat with old school friends. Jennifer asks, in measured tones, whether some of them are women. Yes. But he isn't having an affair. Yet. Will he? Todd feels left out. Isn't he special to her anymore? He used to feel special, like he was the only one who could figure her out. She was so mysterious and stuff. A powerful, inexplicable feeling suddenly swells inside her. Could it be love? They embrace. Yes. It is love. Jennifer even says so. Out loud. Todd is mollified. One epiphany follows another: Jennifer realizes it's time to put her mother in a home. But, first, more remember-this, remember-that. The secret sin is revealed. Nothing much to it, but still. And so life goes on. Her mother lingers in the nursing home for two more years, then dies. Funeral guests say kind things. The coldweather makes people shiver. What does it all mean? Carefully crafted, dreary third from Willis (The Rehearsal, 2001, etc.). Agent: Christy Fletcher/Fletcher & Parry
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440678097
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/5/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 244 KB

Meet the Author

Sarah Willis, a Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature, is also the author of The Rehearsal and the New York Times Notable Book Some Things That Stay, which won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    For Jennifer, a woman with a husband and teenaged daughter of her own, having her elderly mother move into her home is both a blessing and a curse. Jen, who once ran away from home--and stayed away for ten years--is determined to gain her mother's forgiveness for their estrangement. She wants more than anything to apologize to her mother for the child that she was, and wants nothing more than for her mother to apologize for the alcoholic mother that Rose turned into after her husband's death. In fact, however, forgiviness may not be forthcoming on her mother's part, due to the fact that Rose is suffering from Alzheimer's. <BR/><BR/>At times wonderfully lucid but more often than not living in the past, Rose wanders through a world where her husband is still alive, where her daughter Jennifer is still an angry, rebellious teen, where her son Peter still strives for achievement, and her youngest daughter, Betsy, sits quietly in the background. Rose wanders the corridors of her life as if it was a play, like one of the ones that her husband, Michael, once directed. She doesn't know who this woman is that keeps talking to her, asking her questions. She doesn't recognize Todd, Jennifer's husband, and often thinks her granddaughter, Jazz, is alternately her wayward daughter or her in-home nurse. <BR/><BR/>A GOOD DISTANCE is a poignant story of love and forgiveness, of family, and of learning to forgive yourself. Dealing with Rose's Alzheimer's takes its toll on everyone involved, and yet her moments of lucidity almost make the pain worse for her daughter. For Jennifer, this time together before she can allow herself to put her mother in a nursing home is a second chance at a mother-daughter relationship. For Rose, it's a time of anger and embarrassment, mixed in with love and disgust for those around her. <BR/><BR/>Sarah Willis has penned another wonderfully complicated, rich family drama, with heartfelt emotions and dialogue. A true winner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    A Hauntingly Poignant Tale of Love, Forgiveness, and Redemption

    For Jennifer, a woman with a husband and teenaged daughter of her own, having her elderly mother move into her home is both a blessing and a curse. Jen, who once ran away from home--and stayed away for ten years--is determined to gain her mother's forgiveness for their estrangement. She wants more than anything to apologize to her mother for the child that she was, and wants nothing more than for her mother to apologize for the alcoholic mother that Rose turned into after her husband's death. In fact, however, forgiviness may not be forthcoming on her mother's part, due to the fact that Rose is suffering from Alzheimer's. At times wonderfully lucid but more often than not living in the past, Rose wanders through a world where her husband is still alive, where her daughter Jennifer is still an angry, rebellious teen, where her son Peter still strives for achievement, and her youngest daughter, Betsy, sits quietly in the background. Rose wanders the corridors of her life as if it was a play, like one of the ones that her husband, Michael, once directed. She doesn't know who this woman is that keeps talking to her, asking her questions. She doesn't recognize Todd, Jennifer's husband, and often thinks her granddaughter, Jazz, is alternately her wayward daughter or her in-home nurse. A GOOD DISTANCE is a poignant story of love and forgiveness, of family, and of learning to forgive yourself. Dealing with Rose's Alzheimer's takes its toll on everyone involved, and yet her moments of lucidity almost make the pain worse for her daughter. For Jennifer, this time together before she can allow herself to put her mother in a nursing home is a second chance at a mother-daughter relationship. For Rose, it's a time of anger and embarrassment, mixed in with love and disgust for those around her. Sarah Willis has penned another wonderfully complicated, rich family drama, with heartfelt emotions and dialogue. A true winner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2006

    Gets it perfect

    Everything I've read from Sarah Willis gets the relationships we have with others just right. A Good Distance is no exception and for those women who have a difficult relationship with their mother this is a book for you. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the wonderfully written and dead-on passages about family. It's also a book about forgiveness, something we can all ponder.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2004

    Heart-rending, Powerful

    Willis is one of those writers who just gets better with each book. I read this one in the advance copy and was just bowled over. Strong, vivid characters. I don't think I've ever read a more deeply felt description of a mother-daughter relationship. We all have those things in life we wish we could 'do over.' While Jennifer doesn't get a 'do-over,' she does have a chance to reconcile with her mom, to explain some things from her youth and, maybe, just maybe, get forgiveness for hurting her...Except Rose barely knows who she is. The strain Alzheimer's can put on relationships, on a family, has never been protrayed better. This is a sad, sad story; but one so many of us have lived. Willis is a wonder.

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