A frontier woman waits for her husband to return with water. A Muslim man rides a camel across the United States. While the plot of the two POV characters may seem pedestrian on first glance, it is the prose that raises this novel to great heights. With so many memorable characters, scenes, and settings described, Obreht masterfully paints the American West, giving weight to simple pursuits and deriving meaning from a late 1800s-understanding of domestic survival. Not every thread is resolved, but the story is complete.

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