All the epic themes of the great American novel are here - migration, slavery, poverty, self-made success and the conflicts of rights. In classic contrast the self-belief/doubts of individuals are interspersed with forging national identity and the majesty of landscape. But permeating all this is the poetic-philosophical insight into the very marrow of the evolutionary process. Some readers may find the virtuoso vocabulary a bit of a challenge.
She was mired in self-pity, her conscience moving and wrestling within her like the baby soon would. She wasn't crying now, she was dry-eyed. There was some poison in the pie; she wanted the treacly sweet of determinism with its aftertaste of martyrdom, but that came at too high a cost. Easy answers required a death of the mind. Yes, thinking was hard physical labor and nowhere near as pleasurable as sex, so she had abandoned it long ago. That was the pitiless truth. All the distractions of workaday life were so much easier than thinking, because thinking's consequence - belief - made unceasing and terrible demands. It spoiled every pleasure. Yet, to live with half a mind, lobotomized in the peerless world, was to be a dead woman walking.