Join the Conversation

Join the Conversation

Sign up today to hear about books and authors from an independent bookstore near you.

Bright and Distant Shores

Bright and Distant Shores Cover

Bright and Distant Shores

By Dominic Smith

Washington Square Press, Paperback, 9781439198865, 470pp.

Publication Date: September 13, 2011

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos comes a sweeping historical novel set amid the skyscrapers of 1890s Chicago and the far-flung islands of the South Pacific.
In the waning years of the nineteenth century there was a hunger for tribal artifacts, spawning collecting voyages from museums and collectors around the globe. In 1897, one such collector, a Chicago insurance magnate, sponsors an expedition into the South Seas to commemorate the completion of his company's new skyscraper--the world's tallest building. The ship is to bring back an array of Melanesian weaponry and handicrafts, but also several natives related by blood.
Caught up in this scheme are two orphans--Owen Graves, an itinerant trader from Chicago's South Side who has recently proposed to the girl he must leave behind, and Argus Niu, a mission houseboy in the New Hebrides who longs to be reunited with his sister. At the cusp of the twentieth century, the expedition forces a collision course between the tribal and the civilized, between two young men plagued by their respective and haunting pasts.
An epic and ambitious story that brings to mind E. L. Doctorow, with echoes of Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson, Bright and Distant Shores is a wondrous achievement by a writer known for creating compelling fiction from the fabric of history.

Praise For Bright and Distant Shores

“A breathless narrative pace...a riveting tale...evocations of Chicago surprise and delight.” —Australian Book Review

“Smith’s novel is an atmospheric, meticulously observed period drama from a footsure and stylish writer with a fine sense of narrative pace.” —The Age (Australia)

“Smith's impressive third novel is an absorbing exploration of culture, tradition, and renewal through the high seas adventure of three very different men... Smith expertly combines well-drawn characters with a complex narrative that moves smoothly to the dawn of a new century.” —Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

“Smith’s buoyant writing carries the novel through the pitches and swells of the entertaining plot, and his virtuosity with language makes for pitch-perfect description of all he surveys.” —Booklist

“This excellent read will appeal to those who enjoy literary historical fiction with a touch of exotic adventure." —Library Journal

“Written with extraordinary literary grace, Smith’s third novel gleams as a gem of evocative historical fiction.... Beautifully researched and ripe with symbolism—an enthralling narrative peopled by characters both exotic and real.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Bright and Distant Shores


More Book Videos