Better Off Read is a book club collaboration between The Bookshop and The Porch, focusing on books that you'll definitely be better off having read.
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.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award
Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of 2017
Winner of the Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Award
“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 Prize finalist notation
“An affecting oddness is the great virtue of In the Distance, along with its wrenching evocations of its main character’s loneliness and grief.”—New York Times
“Diaz cleverly updates an old-fashioned yarn, and his novel is rife with exquisite moments.”—Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)
“As Diaz, who delights in playful language, lists, and stream-of-consciousness prose, reconstructs [Hawk’s] adventures, he evokes the multicultural nature of westward expansion, in which immigrants did the bulk of the hard labor and suffered the gravest dangers. . . . An ambitious and thoroughly realized work of revisionist historical fiction.”—Kirkus
“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
“A gritty, dreamy anti-Western Western. This book’s unflinching exposure of our foundational American myths about individualism and violence is so well-executed that it feels nothing short of subversive.”—Literary Hub
“One of the best books I’ve read all year. . . . Absolutely unforgettable.”—Roxane Gay
“In the Distance by Hernan Diaz sends a shotgun blast through standard received notions of the Old West and who was causing trouble in it. Håkan and his adventures, which are truly extraordinary, not to mention beautifully written, had me from the novel’s first striking chapter to the last.”—Laird Hunt
Better Off Read is a book club with an added twist: an optional writing exercise for interested participants to complete before the event. The writing prompt for In the Distance is: What’s the difference between solitude and loneliness? What does that difference look like in your own life? Again, this part is completely optional, and those who wish may share what they’ve written at the end of the meeting.
When: Sunday, March 24, 2019, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Where: The Bookshop (1043 West Eastland Ave.)
How Much: $18 + tax. Each participant will receive one paperback copy of In the Distance, available for pickup at the shop. Wine and treats will be served, and participants will also receive 10% off purchases at The Bookshop the day of the event.
All spots for this meeting have been claimed. Just a reminder that newsletter subscribers get first dibs, so make sure you're signed up for next time!
Previous BETTER OFF READ Books
Improvement by Joan Silber (January 20, 2019)
Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (November 18, 2018)
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (September 16, 2018)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (July 22, 2018)
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell (May 20, 2018)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (March 18 & 25, 2018)
Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (January 7 & 14, 2018)
Broken River by J. Robert Lennon (October 22, 2017)
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (August 6, 2017)
Stoner by John Williams (May 21, 2017)
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (March 19, 2017)
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton (January 22, 2017)
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (October 30, 2016)
Better Off Read is a collaboration between The Bookshop and The Porch, Nashville’s independent center for writing.