A Novel

Book - 2017
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Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho. With her husband's memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade's first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. Through multiple perspectives we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny's lives, as Ann becomes determined to understand the family she never knew-- and to take responsibility for them, reassembling their lives, and her own.
A tale told from multiple perspectives traces the complicated relationship between Ann and Wade on a rugged landscape and how they came together in the aftermath of his first wife's imprisonment for a violent murder.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780812994049
Branch Call Number: RUSKOVICH
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Nominated for Best First Novel

It is a slow-burn mystery story and also a beautifully written story about friendship, marriage, memories and redemption. AL_KASEY

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Apr 25, 2018

Wade and Jenny live on a backcountry Idaho farm with daughters June and May, seemingly happy until a tragic summer day when May is killed and June disappears. The intense sadness of these losses permeate the story, one almost too hard to read except for the author’s incredibly lyrical writing. That the publishers classified the book as a ‘mystery’ or ‘thriller’ is a disservice. What were they thinking? There is no strong linear plot that tracks a killer or a girl on the run. This is strong psychological and very literary fiction. No wonder the varying reviews. The book is an ambitious debut novel set in a beautiful place in the West; it tells haunting stories of love and remembrance about which one won’t soon stop thinking. One of the author’s literary heroes is esteemed Alice Munro. There were hints of her kind of stories in this book and that’s a good thing!

Feb 02, 2018

Emily Ruskovich writes beautifully. It’s obvious she knows about the wilds of Idaho, and she crafts poetic sentence after poetic sentence. The places in her story — the house, the woods, the tractor, the prison — are real. I can see them and she makes me know what it’s like to be there. I loved reading Idaho. But the main event — a mother inexplicably killing one of her daughters with a hatchet — just lies there with no reason. The book doesn’t make a mystery of the killing; it’s never really explored and never linked to anything else in the book. Am I to believe she killed her daughter because of a song that was sung by her husband and her daughter’s teacher? I’m not buying that. It left me baffled and feeling a bit shortchanged.

Jan 31, 2018

This is a beautifully written novel, but classifying it as a mystery is a disservice. It's less of a mystery than Celeste Ng's "Everything I Never Told You", but slightly more along those lines.

Sep 05, 2017

Could not get passed the first 100 pages of this book ... the narrative was confusing, and it was never really clear what the main thread of the story was. Mostly it seemed to be a study in guilt, and how it can effect a person over the long term. Around page 100 I just gave up and moved on.

Jul 01, 2017

This debut novel which centers around a mother supposedly taking a hatchet to her daughter is so beautifully written, in a nonlinear fashion from different points of view. I was mesmerized for most of the novel but ultimately unsatisfied.

Jun 07, 2017

This book was a huge disappointment, after all the media hype. I kept waiting to find out why the mother killed her daughter and what happened to the older daughter; these were the central issues of the story. The author didn't answer either question. On a larger, overall issue, the author wants us to sympathize with the mother after she brutally kills her daughter; this is just too much to accept as a believeable ending.

Mar 01, 2017

terrible book. very convoluted, all kinds of plots going on with no closure at the end. i strongly don't recommend this book

Feb 25, 2017

So excited to reccomend this novel...Emily Ruskovich's debut novel.
This story of family is cut with such a balance of light and is simply
E.R. Reminds me of Alice Munro ,and Robin Black.
Her talent is large; truly a gifted storyteller .
If you only like chronological lines in your reading..this isn't for you.
If you only like certainty or ready answers ..not for you.
For a book group ..this choice would ignite discussion.
Read it for yourself , then share, share, share!


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