Author: Kristin Hannah
Review: Judy Bobrow
Genre: Women's Fiction
In The Great Alone Kristin Hannah skillfully gives readers two beautifully developed stories for the price of one. First there is the painfully tragic story of the Albright family, and second, the story of the Alaska of the 60’s. Both stories examine survival and love – within a dysfunctional family and a community, and in the stark, unyielding wilderness of a new, untamed state.
Ernt Albright, struggling with personal demons resulting from the horrors of Viet Nam, envisions a new beginning in the 49th state. He convinces his wife, Cora, and teenage daughter, Leni, that living off the grid in Kaneq, Alaska, will be a wonderful adventure that will heal him and their family. Their romantic dreams soon give way to the realization that they are totally unprepared for the isolation, the bitter cold, the hunger, the darkness, and the endless struggle to survive. While Cora and Leni find friends and support within their new community, Ernt slips further into alcoholism, paranoia and violence.
There is violence as well in the wilderness of Alaska, but also a natural beauty so deftly descripted by Hannah. It captures Leni and will not let go despite the unhappiness and violence of her young life there.
The complex characters that populate The Great Alone are drawn realistically and with compassion by Kristin Hannah. Despite all its tragedy, I found this book to be an uplifting tale, that I highly recommend. JB
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