Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark” as Want to Read:
I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  307 Ratings  ·  69 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 25, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
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
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
Liss Capello
Mar 21, 2017 Liss Capello rated it liked it
I think this is probably a better book than my rating would lead one to believe. Like most historical fiction, it paints between the rough outlines of the historical record to create a landscape which is both plausible and (one hopes) interesting, but this novel goes above and beyond and crosses over from simply intriguing storytelling into a realm that brushes against poetry. The expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark up the Missouri River and through the northwest to the Pacific Ocea ...more
Aug 13, 2008 Jonathan rated it liked it
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
Jun 10, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 19, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it did not like it
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
May 02, 2008 Patricia rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-read
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
Sep 11, 2008 Jess rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 28, 2007 Margaret rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 27, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
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.
May 26, 2017 Gracie rated it liked it
This book took me so long to read it's frankly pretty embarrassing. I'm finally done though! Finally free! This was such a trial to read, really, because of how it was written. Also I feel kind of uncomfortable with how certain things were presented, especially in the Sacajawea parts. They are quite possibly historically accurate, but presented I think in a way the borders on grotesque.
Despite this, I like sobbed through a solid portion of the books ending. I feel like the characterization, part
Tom Lambrecht
Feb 03, 2017 Tom Lambrecht rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at the expedition through the eyes of its three main characters, Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea. Historically accurate while filling out the characters through three novelization. It worked. I didn't realize Lewis was beset by mental illness. The glimpses of native culture and life were also interesting. An accessible way to learn about an important but little known episode in American history.
Feb 19, 2017 Matt rated it it was amazing
I don't read a ton of fiction and tend not to like advante garde styles. This is both and I thought it was a masterpiece.
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
Jun 05, 2015 Clarice rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
Overall, quite a worthwhile reading experience.

Hall's writing style isn't the easiest to follow. Many times I had to go back and reread a sentence or two, and Lewis' chapters contain a lot of obscure words I had to look up. The integration of letters and other historical documents was so clever-- sometimes it dragged the pace of the novel, but it created an overarching connection to the source material. Hall's method of changing his style and syntax to fit with the characters' different points
Feb 21, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 26, 2011 Gobasso rated it liked it
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
Feb 21, 2010 Daniel Villines rated it did not like it
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
May 22, 2010 molly rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2011 Linda rated it it was ok
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
Mar 23, 2011 Roxanne rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 19, 2014 Spinster rated it it was ok
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
Jul 25, 2010 Holly rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 17, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
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
Nov 04, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Amazing presentation of the voices of various characters in the Lewis and Clark saga, with different sections "written" by Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, and Toussaint Charbonneau ...It was hardest to get into the Sacagawea sections, but once I caught on to the way the first-person narrative was being written, I was fascinated by the glimpses into the lives, values, and customs of the Native Americans of the time. I also liked the way the author resolved the dispute about whether Meriwether Lewis ende ...more
Jack Perreault
Feb 17, 2016 Jack Perreault rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I have read a few books on Lewis and Clark, most recently Steven Ambrose's: Undaunted Courage. I enjoyed the ride through the wilderness, the survival methods, the politics, the interactions with the Native Americans and the pure arm chair adventure.
Brian Hall's book, I just couldn't get into his style of writing. I found the phrasing stilted and clumsy.The sentences short and choppy. I couldn't get into any flow-it just jumped around. The metaphors were confusing, and his attempts to be edgy ju
Ashal Calder
Sep 13, 2009 Ashal Calder rated it liked it
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.
Nov 13, 2012 Nancy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
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.
Sep 24, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Eden Hunter
  • The Far Reaches
  • City of Glory: A Novel of War and Desire in Old Manhattan (Old New York, #2)
  • The Peaceable Kingdom
  • Rasputin's Revenge (Auguste Lupa)
  • The Warrior Who Carried Life
  • An Albany Trio: Legs, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, Ironweed
  • The Passages of H. M.: A Novel of Herman Melville
  • Henry and Clara
  • Red Water
  • Pride of Kings
  • Brookland
  • Transgressions: Novellas 1-10
  • The True Account: A Novel of the Lewis  Clark  Kinneson Expeditions
  • Millroy the Magician
  • Deep Creek
  • The Hill Road
  • Mangoes and Quince: A Novel

Share This Book