After 60 pages, I had two great character studies of the protagonists’ hardscrabble beginnings, but a very thin thread of plot. I counted her previous 'The Tiger’s Wife' one of my year’s best in 2011. Her writing this one set in 1890s Arizona Territory is quite a departure. After seeing good comments I may need to return to it sometime when I can be more contemplative!
A beautifully written tale of quiet sorrow.
A rich story containing vast and diverse peoples of late 1800s America - Utes, Mormons, Christians, Navaho, Turk.
Nora, one of two main characters, talks to her dead daughter as the reader settles into her settler situation of drought and danger. Lurie brings a traveling, camel master/outlaw to contrast the representation of the time.
Obrecht fills us with rich contemplative thought: "The longer I live, Burke, the more I have come to understand that extraordinary people are eroded by their worries while the useless are carried ever forward by their delusions..."
Take your time. This book demands immersion.
Part of former US President, Barack Obama's summer reading list for 2019.
The converging stories of flinty Nora Lark, homesteading wife and mother, waiting for her husband Emmett's return with water during an 1893 Arizona drought, and the outlaw Lurie, who takes up with the U.S. Camel Corps and then takes off with a camel named Burke, the companion to whom he tells his tale. Dense and unclichéd, the narratives are markedly different, Lurie's spanning a lifetime and Nora's one parched and desperate day. A haunted dreamscape of ghostly presences and supernatural beasts, and always not going where you think it's going.
A heady, luminous & mystical adventure of two intertwined historical sagas in the dry, haunted Western American landscape with contemporary relevance in such themes as drought, immigration, manifest destiny and Indigenous land rights. Author Téa Obreht is originally from Belgrade, Serbia. Thanks to Téa Obreht and Random House for an advance review copy!
Two story lines thread through this novel, one centered on frontierswoman Nora on a drought-striken farm awaiting her husband's return with much-needed water, the other on former outlaw Lurie criss-crossing the West on his camel (yes, you read that right). Each story could stand on its own but how, if and when these two story lines will meet creates tension and suspense in a not necessarily plot-driven novel. Highly recommended.
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