Inland by Téa Obreht just might be the literary event of 2019

Book review: I disliked this on first read, then was absolutely blown away

Téa Obreht: ‘Plays a confusing trick of using words to mask and reveal in equal measure’ Photograph:  Leonardo Cendamo/Getty

Téa Obreht: ‘Plays a confusing trick of using words to mask and reveal in equal measure’ Photograph: Leonardo Cendamo/Getty

There was a flutter of bookish furore last month when author Cólm Toibín said he only reads highfalutin’ books, he’s too smart for anything else. (At least, that was the gist of it – he might not have used those words exactly.)

Inland by Téa Obreht, is a book I imagine Toibín might have on his nightstand. Billed by marketers as “the literary event of 2019”, it packs Arizona settlements, early printing presses, the US Camel Corps, law, religion, the occult, greed, mysticism and much more into 367 pages of considered, lyrical prose reminiscent of Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End.

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