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Inland

I’ve just started Inland by Tea Obreht and so far it is worthy of the swag of rapturous reviews it has received. It has one of those first sentences that immediately drops you into a time and place and compels you to keep reading: ‘When those men rode down to the fording place last night, I thought us done for.’ Serbian-American Obreht made her name with The Tiger’s Wife which was set in an unnamed Balkan country, but with this, her sophomore effort, she confidently shifts to the American West of Arizona in 1893. I’ve also just started The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. It is out later this month, and an advance copy has been in high demand here—traded with the reverence and enthusiasm of six year olds trading Woolworth’s plastic collectables in the playground. It is indeed worth all the hype it is receiving and destined to be one of our big books of the year; it is eminently quaffable; though I did wonder at the end if I hadn’t been hoodwinked into reading a kind-of Howard’s End for neocons. Decide for yourself. Andrew