Ivan Vladislavic: The Distance

The latest addition to my website is Ivan Vladislavic‘s The Distance. This novel tells the story of two brothers, Branko and Joe, growing up and living as adults in Pretoria. Each tells his version of the story, in alternating sections. They are very different, with Branko as the gregarious, sporty but not very intellectual one while Joe is the intellectual, solitary one, not very good with the girls. To Branko’s surprise and annoyance Joe becomes mildly obsessed with Muhammad Ali and we learn a considerable amount about the boxer. As adults Joe becomes a mildly successful writer and then digs out his box of Ali clippings, with a view to writing a novel. He calls on his brother’s help. Branko initially thinks it is going to be a novel about Ali but when Joe convinces him that it is, in reality, about them and their childhood, he reluctantly get involved, though he is not by any means a writer.

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