Ewan Gault - The Most Distant Way
An affecting story that captures the human face of a tragic period in Kenya's recent history
Amid escalating tensions in Kenya as the 2007 election approaches, two young runners are coming to the end of a gruelling training period in the Rift Valley. Kirsten and Mike are both talented and hotly-tipped for Team GB in the next Olympics, but while Mike finds fulfilment in running, Kirsten feels shackled by it, and rebels in increasingly self-damaging ways.
Ewan Gault's debut novel paints a richly-detailed picture of Kenya as seen through a visitor's eyes, with the perspective switching between Kirsten and Mike from chapter to chapter. Though initially unappealing, both become more engaging and relatable as their characters are fleshed out; Kirsten's arc in particular is handled with unexpected subtlety.
At times it can be hard to get past the clunky prose, which is cluttered with far too many similes and cumbersome chunks of social commentary disguised as dialogue – one character, for example, exists solely to make a lengthy speech about the West's blasé attitude to foreign atrocities. Nevertheless, it remains an affecting story that captures the human face of a tragic period in Kenya's recent history.