From a Distance
April, 1946. Michael, a soldier, returns to Southampton on a troop ship. Brutalised and in shock, he cannot face the life that awaits him at home. Impulsively he boards a train to the western tip of Cornwall, where his life is shaped by his heart and the fragmented Britain he has come back to.
More than half a century later, Kit, an enigmatic stranger, arrives in Norfolk to take up an inheritance he doesn’t want – a decommissioned lighthouse, half hidden in the shadows of the past, now sweeping its beam forward through time. According to Kit, his life is complete, and he doesn’t wish to see anything the lighthouse’s glare exposes. But the choice is out of his hands.
Luisa, a second generation Italian, has so far lived through her children and has reached a point of invisibility. The constant push and pull of family life has turned like the tide, and she is suspended, without direction. Kit and Luisa meet and neither can escape the inevitability of Michael’s split-second decision at the Southampton docks.
Moving between the post-war artists’ colony around St Ives in Cornwall and present-day Norfolk, Raffaella Barker’s new novel explores the secrets and flaws that shape our interactions across generations. From a Distance is a tender and compelling story of human connection and the yearning desire we have to belong.
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