Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Touching From a Distance (1995)

Author: Deborah Curtis | Page Count: 212

"...he was reading Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sarte, Hermann Hesse and J. G. Ballard. ...It struck me that all Ian's spare time was spent reading and thinking about human suffering."

Ian Curtis found a way to say the things that the post-punk generation were so badly in need of. It doesn't mean he was a hero. He was as much an asshole as the rest of us. This book tells his tale from his wife’s point of view. It also tells her tale, and it’s one that for me was worth reading. It strives to find a balance between the emotional stance of a wife and mother deifying her husband out of love and duty, and the equally emotional dejectedness of a devoted partner left out in the cold during her husband’s greatest triumph. Mostly it succeeds.

While Ian tried to hold himself together after a medical diagnosis that threw his life into a maelstrom of uncertainty, Deborah tried to hold everything else together, house, home and family. She never succumbs to the ‘pity me’ attitude (in fact, that seems to have been exorcised quite intentionally). Even though the book is about Ian Curtis, it reveals a lot about the author in the process. I applaud her strength of character in exposing herself so openly. It’s neither sensationalist nor cashing in on a tragedy; it simply is what it is: an honest and often heartbreaking piece of prose. It’s the work of someone wanting to give the truth of a situation, truth being something that she herself was denied at the time.

The end of the book reproduces Ian’s lyrics, some previously unseen, half finished or abandoned. The cynic in you may think this an easy way to fill out page count, but Ian’s words are worthy of inclusion. Having them here is the perfect way to end the story. He was a real poet that touched upon things someone so young shouldn't have had such a deep understanding of; luckily for us, if we learn by example, he left us enough instruction so that we don't have to.

3 band-mates who were blind to the truth out of 5

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