Bright and Distant Shores by Dominic Smith
A Novel

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Synopsis

From the award-winning author of The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre and The Beautiful Miscellaneous comes a sweeping historical novel set amid the skyscrapers of 1890s Chicago and the far-flung islands of the South Pacific.

With critical praise lavished on his first two novels, Dominic Smith has become a celebrated and deeply revered storyteller. Bright and Distant Shores, his latest novel, offers a stunning exploration of late-nineteenth-century America and the tribal Pacific. It’s an epic journey that fans of historical fiction will never forget.

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.

 

About Dominic Smith

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Dominic Smith grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Austin, Texas. He holds an MFA in writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly.His awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize, and the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize. In 2006, his debut novel The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre received the Steven Turner Prize for First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters.Dominic serves on the fiction faculty in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and has taught recently at the University of Texas at Austin and Southern Methodist University. Find out more at www.dominicsmith.net.
 
Published September 13, 2011 by Atria Books. 484 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bright and Distant Shores

Kirkus Reviews

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Written with extraordinary literary grace, Smith's (The Beautiful Miscellaneous, 2007, etc.) third novel gleams as a gem of evocative historical fiction.

Aug 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright and Distant Shores: A ...

Publishers Weekly

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Smith's impressive third novel (after The Beautiful Miscellaneous) is an absorbing exploration of culture, tradition, and renewal through the high seas adventure of three very different men.

Jul 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright and Distant Shores: A ...

Dallas News

This stirring novel brings together a love story set in the Chicago of the 1890s and a voyage on the high seas, to the islands of Melanesia, near Australia.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright and Distant Shores: A ...

M/C Anderson

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Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright and Distant Shores: A ...

Crikey

Ambition and wonder are present in your novel – as you’ve mentioned – and on some scale are seen as unrewarding and even destructive.

Sep 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright and Distant Shores: A ...

The Austinist

The Australian born, Michener graduate Domnic Smith's third book jumps back to the 19th Century, just as he did in him amazing debut, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright and Distant Shores: A ...

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