Adult Fiction HALL
Summary: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back in the early part of the nineteenth century is one of the most famous journeys in American history. Previous accounts have largely romanticized the expedition, treating it as a great triumph. But was it? What really went on in the minds of these brave men and those who came with them? Novelist Brian Hall has been interested in Lewis and Clark for years and became convinced that the most effective way to tell their story would be in the intimate, revelatory voice of fiction. Rather than attempt to recount the entire expedition, Hall has chosen instead to probe the psyches of its participants and to focus on some of the more emblematic moments of the journey. His narrative is shaped around and informed by an examination of the collision of white and Native American cultures at that time. To be true to this theme of colliding perspectives, he has written the novel in four voices. The primary one is that of Lewis, the troubled and mercurial figure who found that it was impossible to enter paradise without having it fall around him. The voices of the Shoshone girl Sacagawea, whose courage and resourcefulness helped ensure the expedition's completion; William Clark; and Toussaint Charbonneau, the French fur trader who took Sacagawea as his wife, add further texture to the narrative. On the eve of the two-hundredth anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Hall has used the novelist's art to produce a compulsively readable book that fills in the gaps and provides a new perspective on this great American story.
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