The Road Between Us,
by Nigel Farndale (Random House, RRP $38):
In 1939, two young men in a Picadilly Circus hotel are unaware that their lives are about to change in drastic and unforseen ways.
Charles and Anselm are arrested for homosexuality. Charles is discharged from the RAF, and Anselm is sent to a labour camp in France.
In 2012, Edward, a diplomat who has been a hostage of the Taliban for 11 years is unexpectedly released from captivity.
The story of The Road Between Us shifts between the past and the present, bringing together Charles, Anselm, Edward and Edward’s daughter Hannah’s stories together in sometimes unexpected ways.
Farndale doesn’t flinch from the horrors of World War II, and the chapters focusing on Anselm’s time in the labour camp are particularly harrowing.
Edward’s journey from long-term hostage to functional member of society is just as harrowing, if less graphic.
The connection between the past and the present is always there, but understated and ultimately heartbreaking.
The Road Between Us isn’t an easy read at all, but it’s definitely worth the time.