Cambridge, Budapest, New York, Zurich, The Hague, Tel Aviv, the South Downs of England: the narrator has travelled everywhere. He has observed some of the major upheavals of the century - the Six Day War, the Prague Spring - and collected friends, lovers, and passions every step of the way. As he ages, the memories of his past grow sharper, the events of his childhood more vivid - so vivid, in fact, that his present life recedes into oblivion. He inhabits a world of ghosts and shadows and absence. Throughout his perambulations of time and space, one absence always looms largest: that of his father. The figure of his dead father materializes again and again, drawing the narrator back into the past, reviving the people and places of long ago. The Figure in the Distance is a hypnotic novel, told with a cinematic cross-cutting that suspends the reader in the cobwebs of memory and longing that haunt the narrator.
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