The Melancholy Fate of Capt. Lewis
While writing a biography of his famous namesake, Bill Lewis, a high-school history teacher, nearly loses himself in his attempts to understand one of the great untold stories in American history—the adventures and subsequent suicide of Meriwether Lewis. Even as he struggles to illuminate that strange and exuberant time and and falls under the spell of the elusively seduct...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Unbridled Books
(first published October 1st 2007)
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Aug 31, 2012 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Hemingway dreamed of a "big, twohearted river," in one of his most American stories, & few of our recent novels have risen so bravely & splendidly to his challenge as this one. Michael Pritchett's debut rides a risky & extraordinary combination of currents. It dramatizes both the Lewis & Clark Expedition, as it was suffered & celebrated by the men on that voyage, a journey inspirational yet well-nigh insane, & an early-21st-C. marriage under strain, the marriage of the gi...more
I didn't finish reading it. I decided I didn't like it. I enjoyed the history of Lewis and Clark, but eventually it felt very oddly slanted to fit the story. I also didn't like how the main character described his dislike of his wife and was plotting an affair with one of his students or the wife of his friend. I like reading uplifting books, this is not that.
Blech. I finally gave up on the historic sections and just read to find out whether or not Bill kills himself. Not the kind of question I really like to have about the protaganist. If he was so damn depressed, how did he get the energy to pack and go on a fancy picnic, remodel his student's entire house, and oh yes, write a book?
This had an elegant sadness about it, but the ending was atrocious in my opinion, and some of the parallelisms were just too obvious and overwrought. The idea of this novel and much of its execution are worthwhile, but it's poorly over- and underdeveloped in certain significant ways.