The setting, for the most part, is Arizona in 1893. Nora is the wife of Emmett who runs a newspaper that is going bust. She also lives with two grown sons, her husband’s niece, and a young son who has suffered a head injury that has affected his vision and possibly his thinking process. Nora’s husband and older sons have not returned home for several days, and her water supply is gone and there is very little to eat. Lurie is on the lam for killing a young man. He becomes part of a group of men riding The Arizona Territory on camels. Inland alternates between Nora and Lurie’s life that year: each dangerous and brutal.
Inland is not an easy read, but I felt it was worthwhile. Sometimes it takes a few chapters to realize what is actually happening. For instance, it took me at least 75 pages to realize that Lurie is narrating his tale to his camel named Burke. For those who need to be drawn into a novel immediately, don’t read Inland. For others who can wait it out and enjoy the language and originality of Obreht’s second novel, give it a try.