The Pequod Review:
Hernan Diaz's In the Distance is a 19th century Western involving the travels of a young Swedish immigrant (Hakan) across the American frontier in search of his brother. While Diaz’s novel has a number of stereotypical elements (saloons, criminals, lawmen, prophets, etc.), his Argentinian and Swedish background leads him to create a unique take on the genre. And some of the most perceptive parts of the book describe Hakan's struggles to find his way and manage his loneliness:
He spent his days staring out at the desert, hoping Linus would feel his gaze through the osseous void. After looking at it for a long time, the plain became vertical, a surface to be climbed rather than traversed, and he wondered what he would find on the other side if he made it all the way up and straddled the sepia wall stretching into the drained, dim sky. No matter how hard he scanned the horizon, all he could see were rippling mirages and the phosphorescent specks his exhausted eyes made pop in and out of the void. He pictured himself out there, running, insect-like, in the distance.
Munro’s hand hovered over his holster. He stood there with the stunned solemnity common to very drunk and very frightened men.