Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


I read this because I'd seen it mentioned on a review of another book in which Alaska was just a flimsy and unrealistic backdrop for a love story.  The Great Alone, the review said, was an amazing depiction of life in the Alaskan bush.  The review wasn't wrong.  Whenever I read a book set in Alaska, I expect Alaska itself to be one of the characters.  And here it certainly is.  In fact, it's one of the main characters, complex and compelling.  A fascinating, beautiful, brutal place.

The human characters in The Great Alone are also interesting and multi-dimensional and imperfect.  I loved most of them—despite their flaws—and hated (yet somehow felt sorry for) one of them.  I think the book also sheds light on the struggles people go through and the dangers of certain types of relationships. 

The plot is often dark, but there are moments of light.

The details of survival on an Alaskan homestead are really interesting.

The writing is powerful and really transports you to Leni's Alaska.  At times the prose gets a bit repetitive or long, but it's a minor issue.
  
Overall, a great book.  Highly recommended, especially for those interested in how life was in an isolated part of Alaska in the 70s.  

I will certainly read more by Kristin Hannah.

4.5 stars.  Almost 5.