Undiscovered Country: Book summary and reviews of Undiscovered Country by Lin Enger

Undiscovered Country

A Novel

by Lin Enger

Undiscovered Country by Lin Enger X
Undiscovered Country by Lin Enger
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2008
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Unaware that his life is about to change in ways he can't imagine, seventeen-year-old Jesse Matson ventures into the northern Minnesota woods with his father on a cold November afternoon. Perched on individual hunting stands a quarter-mile apart, they wait with their rifles for white-tailed deer. When the muffled crack of a gunshot rings out, Jesse unaccountably knows something is wrong-and he races through the trees to find his dad dead of a rifle wound, apparently self-inflicted.

But would easygoing Harold Matson really kill himself? If so, why?

Haunted by the ghost of his father, Jesse delves into family secrets, wrestles with questions of justice and retribution, and confronts the nature of his own responsibility. And just when he's decided that he alone must shoulder his family's burden, the beautiful and troubled Christine Montez enters his life, forcing him to reconsider his plans.

In spare, elegant prose, Lin Enger tells the story of a young man trying to hold his family together in a world tipped suddenly upside down. Set among pristine lakes and beneath towering pines, Undiscovered Country is at once a bold reinvention of Shakespeare's Hamlet and a hair-bristling story of betrayal, revenge, and the possibilities of forgiveness.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Allusions to Hamlet and Hemingway's In Our Time (Jesse reads both in school) do a little too much foreshadowing, but the landscape is beautifully rendered, and Jesse's confusion is palpable." - Publishers Weekly.

"At once both otherworldly and shockingly real, Undiscovered Country reinvents the conundrum of love and loss facing a modern-day Hamlet. This first novel by Lin Enger is sincerely rendered and honestly invoked. Such results promise more to come." - Tom Bailey, author of The Grace That Keeps This World.

"Lin Enger starts Undiscovered Country with a literal bang and continues to ratchet up the tension. His characters are vivid and complex, and his descriptions of northern Minnesota in winter are astonishing. This retelling of a Shakespearean tragedy is powerful and engrossing." - Larry Watson, author of Montana 1948.

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Author Information

Lin Enger Author Biography

Lin Enger is an Iowa Workshop graduate, the author of the novel Undiscovered Country, and the recipient of a James Michener Award and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship. His short stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Ascent, Great River Review, Wolf Head Quarterly, and other journals. He teaches at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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