A Sudden Country

  • by Karen Fisher
  • Narrated by Cassandra Cambell
  • 15 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A vivid and revelatory novel based on actual events of the 1847 Oregon migration, A Sudden Country follows two characters of remarkable complexity and strength in a journey of survival and redemption.James MacLaren, once a resourceful and ambitious Hudson's Bay Company trader, has renounced his aspirations for a quiet family life in the Bitterroot wilderness. Yet his life is overturned in the winter of 1846, when his Nez Perce wife deserts him and his children die of smallpox. In the grip of a profound sorrow, MacLaren, whose home once spanned a continent, sets out to find his wife. But an act of secret vengeance changes his course, introducing him to a different wife and mother: Lucy Mitchell, journeying westward with her family.Lucy, a remarried widow, careful mother, and reluctant emigrant, is drawn at once to the self-possessed MacLaren. Convinced that he is the key to her family's safe passage, she persuades her husband to employ him. As their hidden stories and obsessions unfold, and pasts and cultures collide, both Lucy and MacLaren must confront the people they have truly been, are, and may become.Alive with incident and insight, presenting with rare scope and intimacy the complex relations among nineteenth-century traders, immigrants, and Native Americans, A Sudden Country is, above all, a heroic and unforgettable story of love and loss, sacrifice and understanding.


What the Critics Say

"A grand, mesmerizing novel....Fisher brilliantly illuminates both the tragedy and the new life wrought by manifest destiny. This is a great novel of the American West." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fisher's love of the land and history of the western U.S. shows through every line of this story based on her family's history. A serious, finely written novel." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Eloquent simplicity

I loved listening to this book. The story is gripping, with two flawed and complex protagonists whose lives intersect and then diverge again. The prose is simple, yet somehow reveals emotional depth and conveys both the joys and the horrors of life along the Oregon Trail. The narrator's understated performance matches the writing perfectly.
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- Jennifer Hall

Beautifully written

This book was a book club selection and, because of the lukewarm reviews here about the narrator, I was hesitant to order it. I was wonderfully surprised to find it a very compelling read and well narrated. I did not find the reader flat at all but measured which fit the words. It's a wonderful story and beautifully developed and written.

This is such a good example of why you ought to listen to a book because the language is so lyrical and descriptive that it lends itself to being heard rather than read to oneself. It was one of those books where I could barely stand to put it away - and found my life interrupting my reading!

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- Molly-o

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-29-2005
  • Publisher: Books on Tape