So Far Away is a lovely story about a situation a lot of people will really resonate with, especially this last year and a half. The irony is, Zak and Julian aren’t far away at all, but living on each other’s doorsteps, unable to be together because of a worldwide pandemic – Covid isn’t mentioned but all the symptoms and the testing procedures are exactly the same. Together with Zak’s frustration at catching the virus, there is Julian’s mental health suffering as a result of his high pressure job, and the risks to them both until Zak receives the all clear.
This is in turn a tense, bittersweet, real and romantic portrayal of a couple fighting through a situation neither of them can control; eals on the doorstep, extraordinary rituals that become routine, the “new normal.” Even though it may feel a bit too much like real life in a time when escapism might be the order of the day, the author has weaved a story of hope, inspiration, and possibly even some comfort. Her characters feel convincing and the story is well-paced. There’s even a lovely romantic scene to look forward to.
I really enjoyed this story, even though I am in the main avoiding pandemic-themed books. It was a relatively quick read which felt relevant and substantial, without ramming the misery of the current situation down our throats, with likeable characters and a satisfying finish.
Engaged couple Zakarias and Julian are convinced nothing can separate them…until a global pandemic hits. Zakarias catches the virus with mild symptoms and isolates in the couple’s guest house. The few meters dividing them might as well be the moon as he watches Julian, an ICU nurse, work himself to the bone, unable to support him the way he needs. Frustration and worry build as the weeks pass. Will Zakarias be declared healthy before Julian burns out?