In the Distance
by Hernan Diaz
Håkan Söderström is a man who has become a legend. Giant in size, rumoured to be bloodthirsty and fearless, he is known simply as ‘the Hawk’.
But behind this myth is a tale of loss and survival. As a young man Håkan is sent from Gothenburg with his brother Linus to seek their fortunes in New York. In the chaos of the port, he is separated from Linus and finds himself instead on a ship bound for California. He speaks no English and has no money but determined to find his brother, Håkan sets out on a journey east. As he travels on foot he moves against the tide of history, experiencing the Gold Rush and its effects, encountering capitalists and colonialists, explorers and early scientists, and witnessing the formation of America and the betrayal of its dream.
In the Distance is a novel about radical foreignness – about being lost in a country that does not yet exist. As Håkan confronts desert and mountains, he is thrown between the threat of violence and devastating loneliness, all the while keeping the image of his brother, and the hope of companionship, in the distance.