The Western as American myth has rarely been done so well, or been so well subverted. Hernan Diaz's story of Hakan, a young Swedish immigrant forced to fend for himself in the Gold Rush-era American West, is a coming-of-age tale, a picaresque, and a survival story filled with evocative beauty. -- Recommended by Christopher P.
A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels east in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing west. Driven back again and again, he meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend. Diaz defies the conventions of historical fiction and genre, offering a probing look at the stereotypes that populate our past and a portrait of radical foreignness.
"A gorgeously written novel that charts one man's growth from boyhood to mythic status as he journeys between continents and the extremes of the human condition." —Pulitzer Prizes
"An affecting oddness is the great virtue of In the Distance, along with its wrenching evocations of its main character's loneliness and grief. And its ability to create lustrous mindscapes from wide-open spaces, from voids that are never empty." —New York Times
"Hernan Diaz's In the Distance is exquisite: assured, moving, and masterful, as profound and precise an evocation of loneliness as any book I’ve ever read." —Lauren Groff
“Perhaps most striking is Diaz’s ability to describe the known as unknown, the all too familiar when it is yet unfamiliar. The nature of his protagonist, Håkan Söderström, a lost and wandering Swedish immigrant in the rough, largely uninhabited American territory, allows Diaz to write of what it is like to encounter the foreign or forgotten, such that the reader has a similarly enlightening experience, encountering it anew.” —Paris Review Daily