Chicago author Lee Sandlin spent his childhood summers in the 60s in downstate Edwardsville in a house shared by four elderly relatives. As a kid, he took them at face value and never considered them as real people with real lives of their own. In “The Distancers” he tells their stories, each remarkable in its own way. He tracks his family from Germany to Southern Illinois to Chicago’s German Northside in a uniquely Illinois memoir. Sandlin talks with Steve Bertrand on Books about his summers and his housemates: Helen, Hilda, Eugene and Marty.