The Distance


Published: 9/15/2020

ISBN: 9781939810762 eISBN: 9781939810779

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Book Description

In his youth in 1970s suburban Pretoria, Joe falls in love with Muhammad Ali. He diligently scrapbooks newspaper clippings of his his hero, recording the showman’s words and taking in his inimitable brand of resistance. Forty years later, digging out his yellowed archive of Ali clippings and comic books, Joe sets out to write a memoir of his childhood. Calling upon his brother Branko for help, their two voices interweave to unearth a shared past. Reconstructing a world of bioscopes, Formica tabletops, Ovaltine, and drop-offs in their father’s Ford Zephyr, conjuring the textures of childhood, what emerges is a collision of memories, patching the gulf between past and present. Meaning arises in the gaps between fact and imagination, and words themselves become markers of the past and the turbulent present. In this formally inventive, fragmented novel, Vladislavić evokes the beauty, and the strangeness, of remembering and forgetting, and explores what it means to be at odds with one’s surroundings.

Ivan Vladislavić occupies a place all of his own in the South African literary landscape: a versatile stylist and formal innovator whose work is nevertheless firmly rooted in contemporary urban life.
J.M. Coetzee


... a startling collection by the South African writer Ivan Vladislavić ... each protagonist in the four stories of The Exploded View is engaged in an effort to parse and pin down his post-apartheid nation; together, though, the stories suggest the fatuity of classification.
Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker

Vladislavić is a rare, brilliant writer. His work eschews all cant. Its sheer verve, the way it burrows beneath ossified forms of writing, its discipline and the distance it places between itself and the jaded preoccupations of local fiction, distinguish it.
Sunday Times

The writing has a quality of unpredictability, a wildness that seeps through the fabric of Vladislavić's peerless linguistic control ... Ivan Vladislavić is one of the most significant writers working in English today. Everyone should read him.
Katie Kitamatura, BOMB Magazine

Jennifer Malec interviews Ivan Vladislavić for the Johannesburg Review of Books.

Hermione Hoby writes about Ivan Vladislavić’s The Exploded View for The New Yorker.

Katie Kitamura interviews Ivan Vladislavić for BOMB magazine.

Nicholas Lezard reviews Ivan Vladislavić’s The Folly for The Guardian.