Book - 2019
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"In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives collide. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman, alone in a house abandoned by the men in her life--her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her two older sons, who have gone in search of their father after his return is delayed. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, a boy with a bad eye who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home, and a seventeen year old maid named Josie, her husband's cousin who communes with spirits. Lurie is the son of a dead dockworker, 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 an epic journey across the West."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812992861
Branch Call Number: OBR
Characteristics: 374 pages ; 25 cm


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Mar 10, 2021

I wanted to like this book, it's right up my alley. Unfortunately I tapped out not long after beginning. Something about her writing, the long drawn out story, did not capture my interest for long.

Feb 27, 2021

A reimagined Western novel with actual immigrants which was quite fun to read. I knew that Australia had imported camels, but not America. Unfortunately indigenous peoples receive the usual stereotypical treatment but otherwise recommended.

JCLCharlesH Jan 07, 2021

Inland presents a semi-magical story, rooted in strong characters who push through with great heart and internal fortitude. The narrative is set in Arizona in the late 1800's and divides between two characters whos lives could not be more different. The ending was surprising, but fitting to the rest of the story, and brought closure to both characters' journey.

Oct 23, 2020

I think she is a good writer but I really struggled finishing this book. I think the only reason I hung on to the end was to see how the two story lines came together.

Sep 29, 2020

There are some good western writers who are women, but this author is not one of them. Imagine a western novel- then imagine it turned sour, full of superstitious, draught filled chaos with disjointed, dirty and ignorant characters and a bunch of hokey pokey, hoogada-boogada superstition, a camel and way,way! too many ignorant characters being discribed with not one bit of chronological order. The guy, Luri, commits savage crimes confusedly. The woman, Nora talks to her dead daughter and pacifies her fearful boy. Where oh where could the menfolks be, and how will they survive on a cup of water between four people. Mercifully to myself I skimmed most of this 532 pages of hogwash to read the last 3 pages, which had 2 periods- and I'm talking about the little dot one puts at the end of a sentence. Talk about rambling! For Pete sake! I don't know, somebody who's into ghost stories might, just might be able to stomach this but not me. Period.

Aug 25, 2020

“The longer I live 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”⁣

A reimagined western novel with a twist in the form of camels! This is my first ~old western~ novel. It’s mainly set in 19th century Arizona with a peppering of other places as the second storyline weaves his way closer to Amargo County. The intertwining storylines were really interesting; at first, I couldn’t understand how they would end up relating but Obreht really tied it all together at the end. ⁣

This was a read that I struggled with and at one point I wasn’t sure I would finish it. But I’m glad I stuck with it! Some parts were really slow but she does have a luxurious way with words. Her descriptive narrations were fantastic and I really felt like I was sitting there with the characters. However, at some points, the story just dragged on. ⁣

It’s definitely a character driven story but the part I struggled with was the pacing of it. Noras storyline takes place over one day only which is a really drawn out timeline. However, I really like that at first you might see Nora as a ranchers wife and a mother. But Obreht flips this narrative on its head and she’s honestly not very like able. She’s a complex character who has dealt with a lot in her 37 years on the frontier. On the other hand, Lurie’s storyline takes place over years. It was a really interesting contrast for sure. ⁣

I think there’s a lot of romanticization in regards to life in the Wild West. At the heart of it, life was incredibly incredibly hard and I think Obreht does a really nice job of portraying that. Nothing is easy for Nora and her family nor is it easy for Lurie and his fellow camelers as they traverse the desert and harsh plains. At the same time, she highlights how beautiful it is and the worthwhile feeling they all get for surviving year after year. ⁣

This was definitely not like any other book I’ve read but I would recommend it especially to fans of character driven novels and an interest in what life was really like on the frontier.

Jul 28, 2020

The crux of magical realism is the realism, because the magical can obviously range far and wide. And while some reviewers praised Obreht for her historical accuracy, they were referring to the historical record of the US Army Camel Corps.
But the life of a homesteader on the parched 1893 Arizona landscape simply does not ring true. The town doctor, who has been hanging on for over a decade while not being paid, manages to import a gas stove.
Hooked up to what, exactly?
And the printing press on which much of the plot depends runs on electricity.
From what possible source? If the town had electricity (there is no suggestion it does, other than the fact the press has been putting out a newspaper...), certainly they would have an electric pump on a drilled well.
Near the end of the novel, during an extremely improbably dinner (during which Nora splints the sheriff's compound fracture of the tibia with... a kitchen spoon - and he walks out on this!!!), Nora asks Toby if he had milk that day. "No milk" replies for Toby.
So... it's a homestead with no milk, which means no cow. So where was Nora expecting him to source milk, the fridge???
It's disappointing when a good writer produces such a poor effort. As a sometime editor, I miss the days when an editor would have caught these errors, or the fact that a shotgun does not fire "a bullet".

AnnabelleLee27 Jun 22, 2020

An atmospheric western novel which follows two storylines that converge in a surprising, intense, and dramatic ending. The characters are not stereotypical but are richly developed, complex, and haunted (quite literally). This amazing, moving, and enthralling story is skillfully written with keen insight and attention to detail making it worthwhile and unexpected read.

ArapahoeRead Mar 23, 2020

Interesting novel that interweaves an epic story of the West with an intimate look at life on the frontier. Its character-driven style might not be for everyone, but I was fascinated by this new take on a "Western."

Feb 10, 2020

The beauty of this book is the seamless interweaving of the living and the dead. It is a story that takes place in the Old West – the draw of the new frontier, hard lives, strong women, and the eternal bond between a camel and his cameleer. Scarcity of water is an overarching theme symbolized by a canteen that is never allowed to be completely emptied. Instead, waters from different rivers and lakes encountered by the traveller are co-mingled in that canteen. It's a beautiful story, one that stays with you after finishing the last page.

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