From O. Henry Prize–winning author Emily Ruskovich comes a stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness, about the violence of memory and the equal violence of its loss.
Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged terrain in northern Idaho, where they are bound together by more than love. 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. In a story written in exquisite prose and told from multiple perspectives—including Ann, Wade, and Jenny, now in prison—we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny's lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character in Idaho.
In a wild emotional and physical landscape, Wade’s past becomes the center of Ann’s imagination, as Ann becomes determined to understand the family she never knew—and to take responsibility for them, reassembling their lives, and her own.
Idahoby Emily Ruskovich
Idaho is a remarkable debut novel by author Emily Ruskovich. This character-driven work is unexpected and unpredictable, yet enjoyable and intriguing. Idaho unfolds slowly and is told from multiple points of view. As a nonlinear narrative, some chapters require rereading to figure out exactly who is speaking. Idaho's plot is emotional, dark, and mysterious. Coupled with Ruskovich's exquisite and elegantly crafted writing, the book is hard to put down. Each page is rich with imagery and figurative language, including countless metaphors and similes. Readers are meant to savor each sentence, but should note that they may be frustrated with the lack of answers once the story ends. Idaho is recommended for those who enjoy well-written fiction with in-depth characters.
Review of an Advance Reading Copy
Profanity/Language: 3 scatological words, 3 F-word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: Implied occurrence of violence as a character meditates and plans to stab another; multiple secondhand reports of violence including suicide, shooting animals, jail crimes, arson resulting in death, clawing another, shooting deaths, and murder; several brief scenes of violence including a dog being physically punished, physical altercations between young siblings, and a character violently pushing another's face down to the ground; a few brief scenes of violent death involve a mother killing her child; a brief scene of blood and gore when a prisoner stabs another.
Sex/Nudity: Several incidents of kissing; a non-sexual depiction of nudity during a prison cavity search; a few sexual references and implied incidents of sexual activity; a brief scene of nudity with sexual innuendo; a brief scene of sexual activity without explicit details between adults.
Mature Subject Matter:
Murder, life in prison, domestic abuse, mental illness, early onset dementia, injury and amputation, depression, suicide, infertility, mention of a white supremacist group and swastika tattoo.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Mention of smoking.
Reviewed By Rachel