Book Review: Inland by Téa Obreht

My high hopes for this book were unfortunately not met.  When the Barnes & Noble book club picked this book for their September meeting, I was intrigued.  I usually don’t read westerns, but I’m always up for a good adventure story.

There were many story lines, characters, and red-herring matters threaded through this novel.  It was often hard to keep track of what you were reading and how it compared or mattered to what you’d already read.   There were also many technical and jargon words that were difficult for even a seasoned reader like myself to decipher.  I felt like Ms. Obreht was writing “above my head”.

The most confusing problem with this adventure story was the first-person point of view from both main characters.  It made it difficult to immerse yourself in the action because it isn’t always clear from the thoughts and inner voices where you are or what’s happening in the story.

Ms. Obreht’s writing flows well (when you can understand all the words she uses), and it certainly isn’t a terrible book – however for the reasons stated above, I cannot recommend it.

I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from reading this book if it’s already on your To-Be-Read List.  If you’d like to take on the challenge, feel free to purchase your copy here.

Back Cover Copy of Inland:

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.

Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope, Inland is grounded in true but little-known history. It showcases all of Téa Obreht’s talents as a writer, as she subverts and reimagines the myths of the American West, making them entirely—and unforgettably—her own.

Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

About Tea Obreht:

Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in the National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. Téa Obreht lives in New York.

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