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I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clarkby Brian Hall
Synopses & Reviews
Brian Hall’s compulsively readable novel vividly re-creates Lewis and Clark’s extraordinary journey into the unknown western frontier. Focusing on the emblematic moments of the participants’ lives, the story unfolds through the perspectives of four competing voices—from the troubled and mercurial figure of Meriwether Lewis, the expedition leader who found that it was impossible to enter paradise without having it crumble around him, to Sacagawea, the Shoshone girl-captive and interpreter for the expedition, whose short life mirrored the disruptive times in which she lived. Bringing the day-to-day life of the expedition alive as no work of history ever could, Hall’s magnificent novel fills in the gaps and provides a new perspective on the most famous journey in American history.
"Brian Hall demonstrates convincingly that after all the many books about Lewis and Clark there is a great deal more to be said. Readers of Hall's novel will be exposed to an entirely new way of considering the Expedition of Discovery. While other authors have focused on the events of the expedition, Hall takes the reader into the minds of the principals in the expedition— Lewis, Clark, Charbonneau and Sacagawea. Imagining what they feel—whether spoken or concealed—is more important to Hall than giving a chronological account of the journey. Hall says that in writing this book he has gone 'where historians refrain from treading.' Compared to the standard fare L & C buffs consume, we find a sometimes lustful and resentful Clark, an envious Lewis, a wiser Charbonneau, an unbridgeable gulf between Native-American and Anglo-American minds, and—in the tragic fate of Lewis—a vast gap between soldiers and politicians. Although history buffs will be appeased, perhaps, by the many quotations Hall includes from the historical records, his interpretations of character will not go unchallenged. In theme and tone this is a pioneering work." Reviewed by Zak M. Salih, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
Presenting the story of Lewis and Clark in an entirely new light, Hall uses the novelist's art to produce a compulsively readable book that fills the gaps and provides a new perspective on this great American story.
About the Author
Brian Hall is the author of two previous novels and three works of nonfiction, including The Impossible Country. His journalism has appeared in Time, the New Yorker, and the New York Times Magazine.
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