Winner of the prestigious Spanish-language Alfaguara Prize in 2015, this novel pivots around an aging cult novelist—modeled on Clarice Lispector—and several characters whose identities are mysteriously intertwined with the writer.
Their [the main characters'] three stories, along with their memories of Vera leading up to the mysterious fall, create a moving page-turner ... Suspense, emotions, and magic course throughout this beautifully narrated book. Highly recommended for fans of Latin American literature and general literary mysteries.
Guelfenbein narrates this intricate plot in chapters that rotate among Estévez, Husson and Infante. The Estévez chapters are the most daring, stylistically, because they are narrated in the second person: He addresses Sigall in prose whose emphasis on the 'you' aspires to be poetic. As in the rest of the book, however, the effect is formulaic and sentimental. Readers never get a sense of Sigall’s literary achievement, despite the fragments of her work scattered throughout, and the characters are two-dimensional ... The world of In the Distance With You...is one of mansions, champagne, private clubs, crystal lamps and Debussy, distributed among glamorous cities like Grenoble, Paris and New York. At one point Husson feels 'like doing crazy things, like jumping, like throwing a ball high up into the sky, like dancing.' It would be nice if this novel provoked similar desires in readers, but all they may want to do is to put the book aside as soon as they can.
Mystery and obsession combine to make Chilean author Carla Guelfenbein’s novel...an atmospheric page-turner ... Guelfenbein adeptly captures the meditative mood of each of her narrators, and successfully conjures Sigall’s linguistic delight in patterning words into poems. One only wishes the author had edited some of the more long-winded passages and made the wandering plot more concise.