In the Distance ~ by Hernan Diaz

I nominated this for reading at a small group because it looked really good to me and like something the others would enjoy.   I was not wrong.   It was one of the finalists (usually 3) for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction this year –  and I’ve already read the winner (Less by Andrew Sean Greer).

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In the Distance
by Hernan Diaz
2017 / 240 pages
read by Peter Berkrot  9h 17m
rating:  9.2 /  historical fiction 
(Pulitzer Prize finalist)
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A very tall man on an Alaska-bound schooner tells the real story of  “The Hawk,”  who is himself,  Håkan Söderström,  who immigrated to America as a young boy. This is the Introduction or Prologue.

As Hawk goes on to tell them,  he and his brother left their home in rural Sweden to to go America.  But the two get separated in Liverpool and Hawk ends up in San Francisco from where he tries to get to New York.  He knows no one and speaks no English and he encounters of variety of people and has a number of of adventures and gets in some real trouble for awhile as he tries to make his way East.  Basically he’s lost and sometimes hiding in the desert and plains for half a century,  the years between  the California Gold Rush of 1849 and the turn of the century.  The important things about Hawk are that  he’s very, very tall,  probably close to eight feet as well as being quite intelligent and resourceful.

It’s a wonder of a book – almost magical realism,  more dream-like in parts,  although, as the publisher at Cafe House Press says,  it could,  possibly,  have happened.

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