=> Go West young man (or woman)! If you’re into Westerns or if you’re just a historical fiction junkie, Inland may be the book for you. <=
Author: Téa Obreht
(3.47 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Historical Fiction / Western
Publication Date: August 13, 2019, Random House Publishing
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
Life’s happiness is always a famine, and what little we find interests nobody.
I am an East coast gal. I was born on the East coast, raised on the East coast and I still remain on the East coast. And while I have traveled North, West, further East and further South, I can say that I find where I live to be ideal for me. It has the perfect pace. Somewhere between yes-we’re-busy-doing-important-things and hey-is-that-a-comfy-sofa-over-there? We’re balanced.
And although Georgia, where I live, is considered to be a southern state – and many consider southern U.S. states to be a little… slower than others (not true, by the way – in either sense), I would not apply the work “mosey” to anything we do here. The same cannot be said, however, for our Southwestern cousins where there is a whole lot of mosey-ing going on – just like this book.
Let’s check out the blurb: “In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life–her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home.
Meanwhile, Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. He sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West. The way in which Lurie’s death-defying trek at last intersects with Nora’s plight is the surprise and suspense of this brilliant novel.”
…they were so far inland he doubted a railroad would ever come their way—and if so, what was the point of staking up in such a godforsaken place?
OK, OK… so, to be fair, I made a pretty sweeping generalization about southwestern folk for the sake of being able to use the word “mosey”. But that is the exact word that came to mind on about a thousand occasions as I listened to this audiobook. Nora moseys through her drought-cursed town, discontented with everything and everyone and even the most disturbing things seem not to ruffle her feathers even the slightest.
Lurie moseys at a pace only a step or two faster across the American desert – in and out of trouble, in and out of employment, and in and out of the best and worst decisions of his life. His narration is full of exploits that – at times – breathe a hot breath of something akin to action into the pages.
Neither one of our main characters is in a great hurry to get anywhere, and neither, it seems, is the author. Inland is a rambling, long-winded Western that moseys through introductions (just hold on, you’ll eventually find out who everyone is – maybe about halfway through), moseys through the buildup (it will take about 3/4 of the way through before anything terribly significant happens to either MC), and then moseys toward a joint conclusion (notice I said “toward” and not “to”).
…the older she grew the more she came to recognize falsehood as the preservative that allowed the world to maintain its shape.
Inland is one of those books that is a slow burn – a very s-l-o-w burn. And then *poof* the fire’s out and you’re just left there, cold. I didn’t start this book off with any expectations. I just wanted it to unfold naturally. So I also didn’t read any reviews or blogs on it before I checked it out for myself. But it did not surprise me in the least to see the vast number of people who said that they DNF Inland. I don’t blame them at all. Y’all, this was a real challenge to get through – even on audiobook (with excellent voice talents too).
However, if historical fiction is your jam, and you don’t mind a story that kind of moseys to an ending that is a little mystical and confounding, then pick this one up. Some of the same elements that I found a bit draining could be the very things that draw another reader further into the story. By the last disc, I feel like I really knew these people, whether I wanted to or not.
So, mosey on over to your closest library and check it out, or visit your favorite bookseller to grab up your very own copy. And give yourself ample time to read it in the style of a true Southwestern native – slow and steady.
See Téa talk about Inland and more books she loves below:
Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, and grew up in Cyprus and Egypt before eventually immigrating to the United States. Her debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction, and was a 2011 National Book Award finalist and an international bestseller.