Before Us Like a Land of Dreams (Paperback)
On Our Shelves Now
"This masterwork flouts expectations."
--FOREWORD REVIEWS (starred review) "This resonant novel is told in a multitude of voices, forming a family saga that is both a revisionist history of Latter-day Saint settlement in the American West and a personal journey. In powerful prose, Anderson lets a chorus of voices tell their own often surprising, sometimes heartbreaking stories."
--KIRKUS "Anderson explores the thorny entanglements of family, religion, and self, asking--with crisp, evocative prose--what portion of our lives do we direct, and what portion rests upon the 'dark hazards' of ancestral preordination?"
--JANA RICHMAN, author of Finding Stillness in a Noisy World and The Ordinary Truth "Anderson is a ventriloquist, channeling the voices of a multitude of spokespersons whose DNA, defiances, differences, and determinations magnetize them to the American West. This glorious chorus is by turns poetic, rural, conversational, formal, an aria of stories united by their common descendant. Literary and true, this is the hardest--and best--kind of book, taking no prisoners, forgiving nothing, demanding all. Read it to confirm your membership, fierce and fragile, in the great imperfect human race."
--JULIE NICHOLS, author of Pigs When They Straddle the Air "A magnificent orchestra of voices--piercing and holy, naked and singing, ragged and wistful and queer--but each voice, in turn, fiercely intimate and finely wrought. ...a book for readers who refuse to be lulled or placated, who demand more heart, more exploration, more character. Within these pages, apostates are pardoned, saints brutally humanized, and whole families baptized by their blindness. From sentence to sentence, Anderson reminds us that language is landscape, history a shapeshifter, and all humanity, in its need for connection, in its raw clawing for meaning, is that lone cry from the wilderness."
--NATE LIEDERBACH, author of Beasts You'll Never See "Voices from the American West as idiosyncratic as the Southern voices that make up Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. The book's revelations and mysteries illuminate our own sketchy histories, the true stories we construct that are anything but whole but that help us survive. We all live in the Land of Dreams, which is to say in the land of our own and our ancestors' stories."
--SCOTT ABBOTT, author of Wild Rides and Wildflowers "A lyrical narrative of history, home, family, religion, land, and identity. Through language rich in metaphor, that is as rhythmic and melodic as a poem, Anderson reveals to her readers that family is more than genetics, home is more than place, and understanding is always fragmented. Before Us Like a Land of Dreams will find a solid place in the canon of literature of the American West."
--LAURA HAMBLIN, author of The Eyes of a Flounder "Anderson's keen prose shreds the myths of American history...you will find, in Anderson's vision, a stark and truthful reckoning with white legacies."
--MICHAEL WALSH, author of The Dirt Riddles Before Us Like a Land of Dreams follows a disheartened Utah mother traveling an evocative route through the sites of her arid Western ancestry. As her narration fades, the dead speak their stories: a ragged Mormon boy; a hoarder's queer son; descendants of British squatters. They give no answers, but conjure vivid moments set in iconic--and diminishing--American places.
About the Author
Karin Anderson is a gardener, writer, mother, wanderer, heretic, and English professor. She hails from the Great Basin of Utah.