By Jonathan Evison
What’s it about?
This novel highlights several passengers (and their ancestors) that are on a train bound for Seattle in 2019. Their lives and the lives of their ancestors intersect in a variety of ways. In this book we see the history of the American West through a variety of different viewpoints.
What did it make me think about?
All the people that came before us.
Should I read it?
This was a novel with lots of different story lines, featuring lots of different characters, in two very different centuries. It was a lot to keep track of but what an interesting premise for a book. Look at several of the passengers on a train and trace back the stories of their ancestors until you see how the passengers are connected through previous generations? I enjoyed lots of aspects of this book, but all the plot lines might be too much for some readers. Some story lines were a little more gripping to me than others. However, the history of the American West told through these stories was always compelling.
“Why was Jenny making them all do this against their wills? Because it mattered. History mattered. It was time for her children to acknowledge once and for all that nobody in the Chen-Murphy household had gotten where they were without help. Virtually every opportunity that had ever been available to the Chens was owing directly or indirectly to the struggles of their forebearers . For all their good fortune, they were beholden to their ancestors.”