Bill's Reviews > Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division

Touching from a Distance by Deborah Curtis
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

really liked it

An excellent read, and a must-find for any Joy Division fan. Sadly, it reads more like a chronicle of missing the signs about Ian Curtis' depression than anything else. Yes, there are a number of great insights, and it provides a first-person description of some of the more storied events in the development of the Manchester scene at the time. Yes, it gets into all the nitty-gritty of Curtis' affair with Annik Honore and what that did to his already delicate psyche. However, when reading this, I can't help but shake the knowledge that Curtis' suicide left his then-wife with a then-infant child, after months of rocky marriage and intermittent separations. As much as I'm sure Deborah Curtis wanted to tell people what the real Ian Curtis was like, there are also a number of spots where you can't help but hear her personal biases and frustrations at being shut out of his life creep through the actual plotline. In that sense, I liken it to Carolyn Cassady's "Off the Road" - it just has moments of self-pity that really turn me off, and that is probably my own personal issue, not an issue with the book itself.

Also, be forewarned, the final quarter of the book or so is all lyrics, both of all of Joy Division's songs, in addition to a number of unrecorded or unpublished songs. They're a fantastic reference, but if, like me, you read during your commute, make sure you bring another book unless you want to read through 60 pages of lyrics.
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