The unrelenting harshness of existence in the unsettled American West sharply focuses what Obreht (The Tiger’s Wife) refers to as “the uncertain and frightening textures of the world” in this mesmerizing historical novel spun from two primary narrative threads. In one, homesteader Nora Lark waits with her son and niece for the return of her newspaperman husband with a supply of badly needed water for their house in Amargo, in the Arizona Territory in 1893. In the other, outlaw Lurie Mattie flees a warrant for murder by taking refuge in the Camel Corps, an all-but-forgotten experiment in history to import camels as beasts of burden in the 19th-century American Southwest. As Nora’s and Lurie’s paths gradually converge, Obreht paints a colorful portrait of the Western landscape, populated by a rogue’s gallery of memorable characters and saturated with spirits of the countless dead who attain a tangible presence, if only through the conversations they conduct in the minds of the characters whom they haunt. The novel’s unforgettable finale, evocative and grimly symbolic, crystallizes its underlying themes of how inconsolable grief and unforgivable betrayal shape the circumstances that bind its characters to their fates. Obreht knocks it out of the park in her second novel. Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/30/2019 Release date: 08/13/2019 Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-80707-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-80705-7
Paperback - 435 pages - 978-1-9848-9090-0
Show other formats
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.