The B&N Podcast: Tea Obreht’s Wild Wild West

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

Today on the B&N Podcast, Téa Obreht, the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel The Tiger’s Wife joins us to talk about her new book, Inland, which brings together two stories set in 19th century Texas and Arizona to produce a braided tale as rich and strange as the landscape in which it unfolds. As in The Tiger’s Wife, Obreht has fused history, myth and a sense of enchantment, but Inland fully embraces the form of the Western and invites readers to sit down by the campfire for a story privation and survival, immigrant dreams and American illusions, ghosts and money, camels and murder. Téa Obreht sat down with B&N’s Miwa Messer in our studio to talk about her new book — which is also the August selection from the B&N Book Club.

The New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife returns with “a bracingly epic and imaginatively mythic journey across the American West” (Entertainment Weekly).
In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life—her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home.

Meanwhile, Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. He sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West. The way in which Lurie’s death-defying trek at last intersects with Nora’s plight is the surprise and suspense of this brilliant novel.

Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope, Inland is grounded in true but little-known history. It showcases all of Téa Obreht’s talents as a writer, as she subverts and reimagines the myths of the American West, making them entirely—and unforgettably—her own.

See all books by Tea Obreht

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Photo of Tea Obreht (c) Ilan Harel