Inland

A Novel
Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
4 out of 5 stars (489 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller 

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by: Time The Washington PostEsquire Good Housekeeping Town & Country • The New York Public Library • The Dallas Morning NewsKirkus ReviewsLibrary JournalBookPage

The best-selling author of The Tiger’s Wife returns with “a bracingly epic and imaginatively mythic journey across the American West” (Entertainment Weekly).

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.

Praise for Inland

“As it should be, the landscape of the West itself is a character, thrillingly rendered throughout.... Here, Obreht’s simple but rich prose captures and luxuriates in the West’s beauty and sudden menace. Remarkable in a novel with such a sprawling cast, Obreht also has a poetic touch for writing intricate and precise character descriptions.” (The New York Times Book Review - Editors’ Choice)

“Beautifully wrought.” (Vanity Fair)

“Obreht is the kind of writer who can forever change the way you think about a thing, just through her powers of description.... Inland is an ambitious and beautiful work about many things: immigration, the afterlife, responsibility, guilt, marriage, parenthood, revenge, all the roads and waterways that led to America. Miraculously, it’s also a page-turner and a mystery, as well as a love letter to a camel, and, like a camel, improbable and splendid, something to happily puzzle over at first and take your breath away at the end.” (Elizabeth McCracken, O: The Oprah Magazine

©2019 Téa Obreht (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A dynamic pair, Anna Chlumsky and Edoardo Ballerini, deliver an emotionally rich performance of this intricately woven story steeped in the Western frontier.... Anna Chlumsky is near perfect as Nora. Chlumsky employs a slight Western drawl and resists the urge to rush the story, naturally lingering on reflections and revelations. Chlumsky's impressive versatility with a variety characters - men, women, and especially children - further enlivens the performance, transporting listeners to this mythic time and place." (AudioFile magazine)

“Obreht brings her extraordinarily intricate worldview, psychological and social acuity, descriptive artistry, and shrewd, witty, and zestful storytelling to another provocative inquiry into the mysteries of place, nature, and human complexities.... Obreht inventively and scathingly dramatizes the delirium of the West - its myths, hardships, greed, racism, sexism, and violence - in a tornadic novel of stoicism, anguish, and wonder.” [Booklist (starred review)]

“A bracingly epic and imaginatively mythic journey across the American West in 1893, in which the lives of a former outlaw and a frontierswoman collide and intertwine. (Entertainment Weekly

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What listeners say about Inland

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Inland

Best book I have read in years. I truly cared about each of the characters.

9 people found this helpful

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What a great listen

This story drew me in gradually until the second half when I couldn't put it down. The backstories gently pulled the story together, building deep empathy for Nora and Laurie. I got such pleasure in their ethereal perspectives. The narrators greatly enhanced the story, making this a perfect summer lazy day experience. The narrators sounded so genuine in the 19th century prose-like speech. I found this to be a wonderful "relax and just listen".

13 people found this helpful

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A Wonderful Tale

Two separate stories intertwine gracefully in a western with just a pinch (or two) of the supernatural. Well written, heartbreaking, and enthralling, Inland is an astounding work of art.

12 people found this helpful

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I tried,

Anna Chlumsky, while she'll always be My Girl, I love her, she shouldn't read books out loud for a living. 4 hours in and whatever description I had read wasn't coming to fruition, I was bored out of my mind, and Chlumsky makes me cringe. I tried top convince myself to come back to it, but there was nothing calling me. I never read The Tiger's Wife, I was looking for a story about women in the old west. I was curious what a woman writer my age who didn't grow up in the desert where I grew up would do with an 1800s American west landscape, the very region where I grew up. On all counts, this is not what I was looking for, and I found myself questioning her accuracy. The little known history this book is based on is about some camels, and you know what they say, you can't write a book based on a single idea. The entire camel premise was thrust upon me at some point in those 4 hours I did listen, and I remember thinking, why am I listening to facts about camels?

10 people found this helpful

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Narration did not meet the quality of the story<br />

Just a poor choice of narrators for this story. I've listened to three books this month that kept me listening on the strength of the narration over the story. Sadly this one failed. The woman that narrates has a voice better suited for sad poetry and teenaged angst. I plan on purchasing the Kindle version and finishing on my own. The book piqued my curiosity. The narration brought me to the edge of sanity.

3 people found this helpful

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That was a lot of fun!

I think at its core, this is a story about family and how death and other hardships shape its overall dynamic.

Throughout this book you'll be drawn into their lives, past and present, until both their worlds meet. It's a story too about family history.

Not a lot happens, while at the same time so very much happens. It's plodding, but thrilling. Unique, but familiar. Emotional in every way imaginable. Every character, every moment, is precisely placed. Nothing is superfluous. The writing is tremendous.

I keep thinking of this story, as a 'days in the life of'' sort of story. And I think that's the best way to look at it. You're getting a lot of history, with snapshots of the present. It's thrilling, but overall there isn't an overall story arc. It's an experience more than anything.

The narrators were incredible. All perfectly cast. Their performances were spot on and added so very much to the story.

2 people found this helpful

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A long, slow burn and a terrific ride

I feel that the author spent a long time teasing open the layers of my heart, then sweetly and gently plunged a sword into it. I found this book riveting, moving and painful. It's a marvelous and fascinating story and I loved the magical aspects. Edoardo Ballerini is fabulous. I had a much harder time with Anna Chlumsky's narration for the first third or half of the book, but she improved constantly and by the end I was enjoying it. For a long time she kept reading commas as though they were question marks, so that the flow? is really interrupted? and everything feels stunted and uncertain? Thankfully she lost that toward the end, and the flow of the prose was much improved. It's an extremely engrossing and compelling story.

4 people found this helpful

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If you like westerns . . . and camels

A ghost story featuring a camel in the pioneer west. A love story with the weird wind of the prairie driving the lonely woman a little mad out there alone with her kids. A range war story between two homespun newspapers. A murder mystery - without a murder.

This is a highly imaginative, weird-ass book. It starts out slowly and takes a while to sink in, but turned out to be worth the languid ramp-up.

1 person found this helpful

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Great narration but not so great story.....

First, the narration of the story was great. Different readers handled different characters in this story written from multiple first-person narratives. All of the readers did a very good job and their performance accounts for most of my overall rating.

The story was a big disappointment for me. I loved the author's first novel, "The Tiger's Wife." It resonated with me. This novel did not. I could not get into the story and I didn't care at all for the characters. This is odd because the story is historical fiction, normally my favorite genre. This is the kind of story that I usually love, historical fiction with a twist of something extra such as a touch of magical realism.

I found the writing to be pretty and sometimes even poetic but the story itself was lacking. The story involves a character who has a sketchy past and finds himself meeting up with some others and traveling all the way to Arizona. Another character is a hard-scrapple frontierswoman who has major family issues. She too is in rural, late 19th century Arizona. Another is an Englishman who is even more unlikable and uninteresting than the first two. Add to this ghosts, people who can see the dead and communicate with them and camels. At the end, it all comes together but it takes so long to get to the end (unnecessarily long-where was the editor!) that by the time you do see all the threads come together, you just don't care anymore.

1 person found this helpful

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confusing and long

painful. long. needs editing; about 250 pages too long. so disappointing. would not recommend. ever.

1 person found this helpful