Idaho

IdahoIdaho by Emily Ruskovich
Published by Random House on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 320
Genres: Literary Fiction, Suspense
See it @ Goodreads
four-stars


Synopsis


O.Henry Prize-winner Emily Ruskovich tells the story of a woman piecing together the mystery of what happened to a family. Idaho is a debut novel about love, forgiveness, and memory—the violence of memory, and the equal violence of its loss.
Ann and Wade have carved out a living for themselves from a rugged landscape, but they are bound together by more than love. In a story told from multiple perspectives—Ann, Wade, Wade’s first wife Jenny, now in prison for murder—and in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn of the shocking act that originally brought Ann and Wade together, and which reverberates through the lives of every character in Idaho.

My thoughts on this book

When you read a book about murder especially a horrific murder you expect a resolution, an explanation, something to ease the pain. In Idaho Emily Ruskovich gives you none of that.

Ann knows when she married Wade that he has early on-set dementia and that his first wife murdered one of their children. The beauty of the story is not about the murder, but how Ann goes about bringing closure to an act that was so brutal. We don’t often get a glimpse of the aftermath of a tragedy, it goes against our sensibilities not to know what happened but the author is more concerned with how life continues after such a tragedy. The book spans a thirty year period, moving from present to past, back and forth from character to character each giving us just a bit of insight always moving forward never back.

Idaho is beautifully written book but, challenging as it does not move in the direction you expect, it will move you from comfort zone.

News of the World

News of the WorldNews of the World by Paulette Jiles, Grover Gardner
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 20th 2017
Format: audiobook
Genres: Literary Fiction, Western
See it @ Goodreads
four-half-stars


Synopsis


National Book Award Finalist—Fiction
It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

My thoughts on this book

News of the World, a National Book Award nominee is a delight.  Janet Maslin in her New York Times review  of  News of the World called it a painfully simple story.

Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd is an older gentleman, who travels around Texas reading the news.  A friend asks Kidd to take a 10 year girl who the indians kidnapped when she was 6 years old and return to her family in Southern Texas.  What ensues is a trek fraught with danger from highwaymen, raiding Kiowa and the unforgiving desert. As Kidd and Johanna, as the Captain has named her, travel together they grow closer. 

In this 24/7 news cycle world, it is hard to image that a traveling news reader, the wonder of it all. I was enchanted by this book and would highly recommend it.