The Expeditions: Book summary and reviews of The Expeditions by Karl Iagnemma

The Expeditions

by Karl Iagnemma

The Expeditions by Karl Iagnemma
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2008
    336 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

From Karl Iagnemma, recipient of the Paris Review Plimpton Prize, comes this fierce and gorgeous novel, the story of an estranged father and son’s unlikely journey through the wilderness of backcountry Michigan.

The year is 1844. Sixteen-year-old runaway Elisha Stone has turned up in Detroit, a hardscrabble frontier town on the edge of the civilized world. A canny survivor with the instincts of a born naturalist, Elisha signs on to a risky expedition into the uncharted territory of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The party is led by two adventurers—a ruthless, land-grabbing ex-soldier and a quixotic professor, desperate to discover proof for his own strange theories about the origins of man ....

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The plot is marvelously structured, and the secondaries (including humbug Jonah Crawley and his teenage clairvoyant fiancée, Adele Grainger) add real color. Beautifully written and outstandingly researched, Iagnemma's first novel is a keeper." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. As the book hurtles along with all the adventure and romance expected of a historical novel of this sort, a lone thread of tender melancholy reminds us of the cost that nation building imposes on those the nation is built over. Recommended for all academic and public libraries." - Library Journal.

"A languid frontier drama that weighs scientific inquisitiveness against the depths of human sorrow." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Despite the story's adventurousness and ambition, the novel has a vaguely starched tone to it ....Though uneven, it delivers from the first page, in increments, and does not stop before all possible stones have been turned to reveal the ground beneath in its filth and purity." - The San Francisco Chronicle.

"English-speaking America's first great mystic was a naturalist, and Henry David Thoreau's spirit hovers like an animating angel over "The Expeditions," Karl Iagnemma's emotionally powerful and beautifully wrought first novel." - The Los Angeles Times.

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Karl Iagnemma's work has won the Paris Review Plimpton Prize and been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. He is a research scientist in the mechanical engineering department at M.I.T. He previously published a collection of stories: On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction.

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