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On a cold February afternoon, Stella sees a man walking towards her on a London pavement. She hasn't seen his face for many years, but she instantly recognises him. Or thinks she does.

At exactly the same moment, on the other side of the world, Jake is realising that the crowd around him, celebrating Chinese New Year, is about to turn dangerous.

They know nothing of each other's existence, but both Stella and Jake flee their lives: Jake in search of a place so remote it doesn't appear on any map, and Stella for a destination in Scotland, the significance of which only her sister, Nina will understand.

The Distance Between Us is a novel about parallel lives, displaced identities, the bond between sisters, and the undertow of the past. Above all, it's a love story about two people who have never met. Gripping insightful and deft, it is Maggie O'Farrell's finest achievement to date.