A young Swedish boy comes to the U.S. in the 1840s only to be immediately separated from his older brother. While becoming a man, he travels alone across the lawless American west, reputation growing as an outlaw legend known only as "The Hawk." Part coming-of-age tale, part survivalist story, you have never read a western frontier novel like this. Truly one of the best books of the year.
Hakan Soderstrom and his older brother leave Sweden with the intention of boarding a ship that will take them to New York. Hakan loses track of his brother and ends up on a ship that takes him around Cape Horn and drops him on the California coast. Determined to reunite with his brother in New York, he departs California, swimming against the tide of immigrants heading west. This first novel is an epic adventure that is at times gruesome and heartbreaking, but always compelling. Hakan is a larger-than-life character, who -- by the end of the book -- has become a mythological creature in the land that he ceaselessly roams.— From Mark B.
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.
Hernan Diaz is the author of Borges, Between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury 2012), managing editor of RHM, and associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University. He lives in New York.