Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
In the Distance
Cover of In the Distance
In the Distance
Borrow Borrow
Pulitzer Prize Finalist: "Something like Huckleberry Finn written by Cormac McCarthy: an adventure story as well as a meditation on the meaning of home."—The Times

Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing
A
Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction


A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels East in search of his brother, from whom he was separated in the crowds and chaos during their journey across the sea. Moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing West, he is driven back again and again, meeting naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen—and his exploits turn him into a legend.
Just as its hero pushes against the tide, this widely acclaimed novel defies genre conventions—and "upends the romance and mythology of America's Western experience and rugged individualism" (Star Tribune).

"Suspenseful...a memorable immigration narrative, and a canny reinvention of the old-school western."—Publishers Weekly

"Exquisite: assured, moving, and masterful, as profound and precise an evocation of loneliness as any book I've ever read." —Lauren Groff, National Book Award-nominated author of Florida and Fates and Furies
Pulitzer Prize Finalist: "Something like Huckleberry Finn written by Cormac McCarthy: an adventure story as well as a meditation on the meaning of home."—The Times

Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing
A
Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction


A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels East in search of his brother, from whom he was separated in the crowds and chaos during their journey across the sea. Moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing West, he is driven back again and again, meeting naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen—and his exploits turn him into a legend.
Just as its hero pushes against the tide, this widely acclaimed novel defies genre conventions—and "upends the romance and mythology of America's Western experience and rugged individualism" (Star Tribune).

"Suspenseful...a memorable immigration narrative, and a canny reinvention of the old-school western."—Publishers Weekly

"Exquisite: assured, moving, and masterful, as profound and precise an evocation of loneliness as any book I've ever read." —Lauren Groff, National Book Award-nominated author of Florida and Fates and Furies
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 3, 2017
    In Diaz’s debut, a brilliant and fresh take on the old-school western, a young Swedish immigrant named Håkan is separated from his brother, Linus, en route to America. Håkan lands in San Francisco knowing only that he must get to New York to find Linus, but his journey becomes a series of increasingly dangerous episodes. He becomes a sexual hostage of a saloon owner with “black, gleaming, toothless gums, streaked with bulging veins of pus”; is roped into a kooky naturalist’s search in a dried-out seabed for a jellyfishlike proto-organism that supposedly created mankind; and is forced to kill marauders in self-defense. This latter episode leads to word spreading around the western territory that Håkan is an outlaw legend who literally keeps growing and growing in size, and, indeed, he becomes a giant by the book’s end. Diaz cleverly updates an old-fashioned yarn, and his novel is rife with exquisite moments: Håkan has moving relationships with a horse named Pingo and another traveler named Asa, there’s a drug-induced sequence in which Håkan looks at his own brain, and Håkan’s very limited grasp of English heightens the suspense of his tense encounters. The book contains some of the finest landscape writing around, so potent because it reflects Håkan’s solitude: “Nothing interrupted the mineral silence of the desert. In its complete stillness, the world seemed solid, as if made of one single dry block.”

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2017

    After immigrating to America from Sweden in the 1840s, young Hakan Soderstrom is separated from his brother in New York and inadvertently boards a ship bound for California, arriving during the Gold Rush. He befriends a family of Irish immigrants and join them in the goldfields until he is captured by vigilantes, taken to a nearby town, and made a virtual prisoner. Hakan's escape begins many years of adventures across the West. He first falls in with a naturalist who teaches him about science, then with a group of settlers, killing religious zealots who attack their wagon train, becoming a legend--and a wanted man--across the West. While set in the American West, this is no conventional Western, as it turns the genre's stereotypes upside down, taking place on a frontier as much mythic as real with a main character traveling east. In this world, American individualism becomes the isolation that is its shadow and the dream of freedom devolves into anarchic violence. And while Hakan longs for community, he finds himself a stranger everywhere. VERDICT Resonant historical fiction with a contemporary feel.--Lawrence Rungren, Andover, MA

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2017
    Violent, often surrealistic Wild West yarn, Cormac McCarthy by way of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.Hakan Soderstrom is a force of nature, a wild giant whose name, in the frontier America in which he has landed, is rendered as the Hawk. On the docks back in Gothenburg he was separated from his brother, Linus, and he has sworn to find him in a land so big he can scarcely comprehend it. The Hawk lands in California and ventures eastward only to find himself in all kinds of odd company--crooks, con men, prophets, and the rare honest man--and a tide of history that keeps pushing him back to the west. Along the way, his exploits, literary scholar Diaz (Hispanic Institute/Columbia Univ.; Borges, Between History and Eternity, 2012) writes, are so numerous that he has become a legend in a frontier full of them; for one thing, says an awe-struck traveler, "He was offered his own territory by the Union, like a state, with his own laws and all. Just to keep him away." The Hawk protests that most of what has been said about him is untrue--but not all of it. As Diaz, who delights in playful language, lists, and stream-of-consciousness prose, reconstructs his adventures, he evokes the multicultural nature of westward expansion, in which immigrants did the bulk of the hard labor and suffered the gravest dangers. One fine set piece is a version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which religious fanatics dressed as Indians attack a pioneer party--save that in Diaz's version, Hakan tears his way across the enemy force with a righteous fury befitting an avenging angel. "He knew he had killed and maimed several men," Diaz writes, memorably, "but what remained most vividly in his mind was the feeling of sorrow and senselessness that came with each act: those worth defending were already dead, and each of his killings made his own struggle for self-preservation less justifiable." Not for the faint of heart, perhaps, but an ambitious and thoroughly realized work of revisionist historical fiction.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    October 1, 2017
    In this curious debut novel, scholar and critic Diaz combines a fastidious attention to historical detail with a playful repurposing of the myth of the American frontier. The saga begins with two emigrating Swedish brothers who lose each other during a transatlantic journey. Linus makes it to New York, but Hakan rounds Tierra del Fuego and winds up in San Francisco. Through a series of increasingly strange episodes, Hakan starts to make a name for himself. First, he convinces a suspicious gold panner to let him tag along, only to be taken hostage by a dangerously alluring mistress. When he makes a run for it, Hakan finds himself taken up by a crackpot biologist, and he joins in the search for a strange, gelatinous organism, a supposed predecessor to humankind. Despite his best efforts, Hakan's quest to reunite with his brother somehow always turns back to this expansive landscape. Stitched through with humor, this often-unpredictable novel will keep readers running along with every step of Hakan's odd escapades.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Coffee House Press
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

Device Compatibility Notice

The OverDrive app is required for this format on your current device.

Close

Bahrain, Egypt, Hong Kong, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
In the Distance
In the Distance
Hernan Diaz
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel