Tonight I finished a remarkable book, The Distance Between Us, by Bart Yates. It is the story of a mightily dysfunctional and musical family, as told by the mother and main character, Hester Parker. Hester is a gifted pianist whose concert career was thwarted by a fall that broke her wrist. Playing more than a few minutes causes excruciating pain, so she fulfills her gift by teaching at a well known conservatory in a small town in Illinois.
Her husband has left her for a younger woman and her two surviving children will have nothing to do with her. When she advertises her third floor apartment for rent, a young college student, Alex, enters her life when he leases the apartment.
As the novel progresses, we learn more about Hester, her family, her relationship with Alex, and the events that led to the death of one of her children.
I was completely captivated by this story and by Hester. The author has a gift for bringing characters to life as well as their relationships with the other characters in the story. He brings a frozen Illinois to life as the story takes place during a frigid midwestern winter.
Every once in awhile I read a book that makes me dread reaching the last page. This was one of those. The characters became fully real to me. I spent a great deal of time with musicians in my high school and college years, and this book was somehow comforting.
5 stars, two thumbs up, and highly recommended. Beautiful.