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I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark
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I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  250 ratings  ·  53 reviews
"Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back in the early nineteenth century is the most famous journey in American history. But its very fame has obscured its oddness. Its public image of discovery and triumphant return has veiled its private stories of longing and loss, of self-discovery and mutual ignorances, of good luck and mischance ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published December 30th 2003 by Penguin (first published January 13th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 705)
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Jessica
This book about the Lewis and Clark expedition put me in a trance. Gorgeous writing, characters more real than many people I actually know. Some things that will stick with me:

1. Heartbreaking, flawed, earnest, beautiful Lewis.

2. Lewis and Clark's relationship, filled with so much respect and uncertainty

3. Sacagawea's dreamlike prose; unlike any narrative voice I've read. The way she makes sense of this voyage she is accompanying:
"Gives black weapon [Lewis] had a dream, and the others are follow
...more
Carrie
Definitely not for those who read primarily for plot, but this was fantastic for language and character fans. Hall tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition from multiple first person perspectives, each written in a completely different style. There’s all sorts of fun little style details, from the way that Lewis and Clark spell Charbonneau’s name (Charbono, mostly, but not always) to the way that Sacajawea’s narratives shift as she learns names and English words.

Thomas Jefferson was kin
...more
Jonathan
I recently finished reading “I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark” by Brian Hall. From the Publisher’s Weekly review:

Narrated in multiple distinct voices, this retelling of the story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's legendary expedition is less a historical blow-by-blow than an engaging character study of the two men. Hall focuses on a few significant episodes in the journey-such as the hunting accident that wounds Lewis and causes him to sink into his f
...more
Patricia
I really, really wanted to like this book. Really. As a former history major, I should welcome such well-written first-person historical fiction about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. But I didn't like this book. I didn't like it 10 pages in and I didn't like it after reading 50 pages. Hall wonderfully creates his characters: Lewis, Clark, Sacajawea and eventuallySacajawea's husband, though I didn't get that far. The language painted vivid pictures in my mind. The plot pacing was good. I just did ...more
Jess
I thought I might like this book based on the title alone; what a joy, then, to discover that there's so much more to love: the four-pronged POV, each a different take on Lewis and Clark's mad, beautiful journey up the Missouri; the bits and pieces from their actual journals, sandwiched between plausible speculation about what might have happened; and, as in the very best historical fiction, a clear-eyed revision of the past, here of life on the Plains and in the Northwest in the early 1800s.
Amanda
The narrative isn't always in proper english! sacajawea's husband is the most irritating to read becuase he is both a tool and difficult to understand.
Spinster
Save your money and time. There are many other books out there that capture the spirit of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I recommend Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose or The Saga of Lewis & Clark Into The Uncharted West by Thomas and Jeremy Schmidt. The latter book has wonderful pictures and illustrations. Hall's book homed in on the faults of each person on the journey. I thought he was a total pervert when it came to expressing the thoughts of Sacagewah because her thoughts were pepper ...more
Margaret
Apr 28, 2013 Margaret rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers
first book in a long time which makes me want to leave the company of people i care deeply about to get home and read
Stephanie "Jedigal"
Let me share the "bad" first. This book was not a quick read. It did not grab me up and sweep me away, encouraging me to forego meals and reasonable bedtimes. I love books that do that, but they are not the only books I love. I also love to read books that require some time and care on my part, a commitment to go along with the auther and experience something new. This book was of that kind.

None of that is to imply any reluctance on my part to pick up the book. Although I often read multiple bo
...more
Rebecca
A great historical novel about Lewis and Clark. The book is told through multiple points of view: Lewis, Clark, Charbonneau, Sacajawea and others. He attempts to give each its own voice, but it makes Sacajawea's chapters very difficult to read, and exoticizes her in a way. It is a character driven book rather than a plot driven one, as many of the climaxes of the story are not focused on, for example the expedition reaching the Pacific Ocean. A somewhat spoilery warning for those with depression ...more
erin
Jan 31, 2007 erin is currently reading it
Recommends it for: history buffs, travellers
Only a few pages in, I'm very much enjoying this novel (ahem) take on the Lewis & Clark expedition.

The author has based his narrative on the letters and journals written by the explorers before, during and after their famous voyage, but uses a cynic's eye to read between the familiar lines. Cross-outs and margin notes, combined with the writer's fertile imagination create psychological depth to men immortalised as heroes, which creates conflicts resulting from self-serving motives and the h
...more
Sarah
Elegant and inventive though not the easiest of reads. During Sacagawea and Charbonneau’s sections proper grammar and punctuation are not employed. I found this a bit frustrating at first. As I continued to read I soon realized the sheer brilliance of the author’s technique.

His approach challenges the reader and adds important insight into Lewis and Clark’s journey. Language and cultural barriers greatly impeded relationships amongst expedition members. Confusion and frustration would be common
...more
Gobasso
This book is a fictional exploration of the characters involved with the Lewis and Clark expedition. While mostly told from Meriwether Lewis' point of view it also includes vignettes from Clark, Sakagewea, and her husband Charbonneau. The book is not only about the expedition but also about the lives of all the travelers after their return. I admire the author for this ambitious retelling of a story that has been told many times before. Unfortunately, I feel the result is inconsistent. I was abl ...more
Daniel Villines
I believe in the great line that says, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” [George Santayana, 1905:]. However, in order to avoid condemnation, the past remembered must be true. Furthermore, in order to apply history in your own way, to your own life, the understanding of history must be based upon your own interpretation of the facts.

At best, this book is sugar-coated history. At worst, this work is filled with untruths and prose meant to fill in the gaps of history
...more
molly
hats off to the ability of this author to put you inside the character not by outright description of their experience, but by crafting a style of writing specific to each character that created for me as a reader a sense that i'm thinking the way that character would be thinking, and through that i gain understanding of their motivations and the way that they interpret the things around them. it felt almost like reading in multiple languages, and i really enjoyed and admired that effect.

on top
...more
Linda
I read 80% of it. I wanted to see what happened when they finally reached the west coast. What a complete bummer of a book though. The whole point of a fictional account of a true adventure is to add some fiction!!! Tell me a story - make it up - that's why I read fiction. Instead this book is a giant character sketch of Merriwether Lewis and his relationships with the central people on the expedition. I realize that Lewis was a lazy journal writer and Clark couldn't write for sh*t, but really - ...more
Roxanne
I've had this novel on my shelf for a long time and just picked it up at random last week. I was delighted to find it a sweeping, epic story, beautifully and powerfully written, with believable and relatable characters. The novel tells the story of Lewis and Clark's expedition to explore the Louisiana territory in search of a northwest water passage across the continent. The story is told largely from Lewis's perspective, but the other main characters, like Clark, Sacagawea, and Charbonneau, all ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 19, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No One
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
This purports to tell the story of the major participants of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806 that explored the vast lands newly acquired from the French that trail-blazed the American West. From the beginning, which focused on Meriweather Lewis I found the writing graceless, with lots of awkward phrasing with literary pretensions. So much of the prose is close to unintelligible--when it's not crude. Here's a paragraph of the writing early on from the point of view of Sacaga ...more
Linda
This novel is based on the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He takes the most liberty with Sacagawea, since there is only the references to her from the Lewis and Clark journals, but he uses the Shoshone language syntax and anthropological studies and early traveler's accounts of the tribes, but the parts in her voice were among the most interesting to me. Beside the parts from Lewis and Clark's narrative, there are chapters on Charbonneau (trapper and interpreter and Sacagawea's 'hus ...more
Holly
This book has been on my list to read for a very long time -- and I'm so glad I finally got around to it! It was a wonderful, sensitive portrayl of this historical achievement and really brought the cast of characters to life. I enjoyed the author's use of language and diction to help the reader understand the different viewpoints of Lewis, Clark, Charbonneau, and Sacagewea. It was an utterly fascinating account and with enough imagination to bring this event to life for me. While not all of thi ...more
Beverly
I only read about half of this book
Ashal Calder
I really enjoyed the interaction between the people in this book. How true to life it is I'm not sure, but whether it's White on White, White on Indian, Indian on Indian, all conversations and interactions were very enjoyable. People don't communicate that way any more. I especially enjoyed Lewis and Clark's interactions.
I enjoyed the book like I would enjoy a fact book. Every page was interesting, but the story itself wasn't so compelling as to keep me reading.
Gary Smith
One of the strangest novels I have read. I finished it only because of an obsessive drive to finish any book that I start .
Nancy
I made it to page 173. The Lewis chapters aren't bad, but the other 3 don't work. Clark misspells random words (in his head, and in a time before standardized spelling), and poor Sacagewea sounds like Tonto. She calls their fort a "wooden hill." The author did a lot of research into Native American practices (and you get to read all of it) but seems to know nothing of childbirth and breastfeeding.
Daena
I finally finished this book. I was intrigued at how the author wove together different voices from different members of the expedition and it was interesting to hear more about what happened after they returned. Still, some parts didn't ring true. Although the author did some research on how to represent Sacagawea's probably dialect, it still felt to me like a man writing it.
Phayvanh
I only got to 75 pages, partly because of time constraints before book group meeting about this title. But then, at the discussion, no one liked the book, and so I'm not going to bother finishing it. I enjoyed the narratives by Lewis, but not the points of view of the Natives, while others argued for the other way around. Oh well. I hear his other novel is worth reading.
maven
I wanted to like it, but I couldn't take the style of writing for Sacajawea's chapters. I get what the author was trying to do, but it made for really difficult reading, what with no capitalization of proper names and rambling sentences to only vaguely explain things. It didn't really make it feel like she was on equal footing with the other characters.
Nicole
An interesting perspective on the journey of Lewis and Clark. I enjoyed the author's attempt to provide perspective from the various people involved, including Sacagawea and her husband. It was a little hard to follow at times, and I would have appreciated a map included in the book to reference as I was reading. But, overall, I enjoyed this.
Robert Cauzillo

what I think is ... Rock Opera by Neil Yong.I was completely convinced while reading that it was "Lewis Clark and Hall". Brian Halls insights into the everyday the every minute actions at times was both brilliant and insightful. Like some Operas there were points of me readjusting my seat but over all, a creative way of telling a story.
Samantha
This book had so much potential! A story told from the perspective of Sacajawea, Lewis, and Clark about one of the greatest American explorations. But I could not get over the ludicrous choices of words that Sacajawea used and how the book dragged on an on. Unfortunately I cannot recommend.
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