Ewan Morrison - Distance (4 stars)

Ewan Morrison

(Jonathan Cape)


Anyone who has ever embarked on a long distance affair knows they can be pretty tumultuous, and when Ewan Morrison (an author developing a reputation for his insightful portrayals of relationships) chooses to explore this type of pairing in his second work, it makes for incredibly compelling reading. Where Swung was a humorous, inspirational and sexually charged take on love in the 00s, the Glasgow-based writer takes all the successful elements of his previous offering and gives them a dark and, at times, genuinely moving twist in Distance, further proving his worth as one to watch on the Scottish literary scene.

The novel tells the tale of Tom (from Edinburgh, likes a drink) and Meg (an intense, old flames-obsessed New Yorker), two occasionally kinky and extremely messed-up and complex middle-agers trying to rid themselves of past demons and finding solace in each other during Tom’s business trip to the Big Apple. They meet by chance, both bored and socially awkward at a pretentious film company party, and what follows is an often overpowering, whirlwind romance peppered with hilarious, snappily rendered critiques of their hometowns, bittersweet anecdotes and, perhaps most interestingly, some searing attacks on and celebrations of modern Scotland.

However, even when all seems to be unravelling for his protagonists, Morrison keeps the reader’s spirits up and gripped to every chapter with an abundance of witty lines, bittersweet anecdotes and an underlying sense of hope, which keeps Distance from becoming too sinister.

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