Bright and Distant Shores

Bright and Distant Shores

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
3
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Baker & Taylor
Chicago, 1897. An obsessive collector and insurance magnate commissions the world's tallest building. Determined to compete with Marshall Field's recent donation of $1 million to found the Field Museum, the tycoon funds a private collecting voyage into the Pacific.

Baker
& Taylor

When a Chicago insurance magnate sponsors a South Seas expedition to collect various Melanesian artifacts, his schemes ensnare two orphans including a recently engaged itinerant trader and a mission houseboy who longs to be reunited with his sister.
When a late-19th-century Chicago insurance magnate sponsors a South Seas expedition to collect various Melanesian artifacts, his schemes ensnare two orphans including a recently engaged itinerant trader and a mission houseboy who longs to be reunited with his sister. By the award-winning author of The Beautiful Miscellaneous. Original.

Simon and Schuster
From the award-winning author of The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre and The Beautiful Miscellaneous comes a sweeping historical novel set amid the skyscrapers of 1890s Chicago and the far-flung islands of the South Pacific.

In the waning years of the nineteenth century there was a hunger for tribal artifacts, spawning collecting voyages from museums and collectors around the globe. In 1897, one such collector, a Chicago insurance magnate, sponsors an expedition into the South Seas to commemorate the completion of his company’s new skyscraper—the world’s tallest building. The ship is to bring back an array of Melanesian weaponry and handicrafts, but also several natives related by blood.

Caught up in this scheme are two orphans—Owen Graves, an itinerant trader from Chicago’s South Side who has recently proposed to the girl he must leave behind, and Argus Niu, a mission houseboy in the New Hebrides who longs to be reunited with his sister. At the cusp of the twentieth century, the expedition forces a collision course between the tribal and the civilized, between two young men plagued by their respective and haunting pasts.

An epic and ambitious story that brings to mind E. L. Doctorow, with echoes of Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson, Bright and Distant Shores is a wondrous achievement by a writer known for creating compelling fiction from the fabric of history.

Publisher: New York : Washington Square Press, 2011
Edition: 1st Washington Square Press trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9781439198865
1439198861
Characteristics: 470 p. : map ; 22 cm

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salgeogal
May 17, 2016

Gotta agree with the other comments. It was a lot of story. Could have used some editing. It wasn't a painful slog (and I've read several of those), but it was a lot and moved really slow in places. And even after all that, it felt a little unfinished. 5 out of 10

sewdaisy Dec 31, 2011

Did not finish. This one seemed ike a lot of work to read.
Historical fiction, 1890's, sailing ships to South Pacific.

m
maven
Dec 11, 2011

I really wanted to like this book. The reviews of it seemed good, and the story sounded really interesting. The writing was certainly detailed, but it felt so flat, like there wasn't any emotion behind it. This made the people feel like robots, and the story was just too predictable. It also felt like convenient little details were tacked on everywhere, without a proper backstory. A lot of telling, not showing, basically. Very disappointing.

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