Monday, October 09, 2006

I Should Be Extremely Happy In Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark

by Brian Hall
An intimate look at the lives of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacagawea, Toussaint Charbonneau (her husband), and York, Clark's slave. Hall writes from the inside out; his writing style changes completely depending on the character he's spending time with. When you see the world through the eyes of Lewis, things are complex, multi-layered, shot through with dry wit and irony. Clark, on the other hand, is a simpler man, good-hearted and easy-going. Sacagawea's sections are difficult at first; not only does she come from a culture worlds apart from that of Lewis and Clark, we first meet her as a child being kidnapped by an enemy tribe. Disorientation is a part of her story, and Hall lets the reader get a little lost with his characters, all of whom are visiting uncharted territory. Somehow we come to feel that we know each of these people better than they ever knew each other. Hall takes you beyond the heroic history book tales, into the sweat and tragedy of real life, and I've never read a more heartbreaking story.

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