Idaho (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Idaho is the best novel I have read in years. It follows more than fifty years in the lives of Jenny, who performs a terrible act early in the book, and the family she leaves behind. The prose is truly insightful, with metaphors that leap off of the page-- memory scatters like "dozens of blackbirds, startled at nothing." This novel is a powerful testament to human resiliency and forgiveness, and should join the canon of lasting Northwest literature, alongside Marilynne Robinson and Sherman Alexie.

— From James

Spanning 50 non-linear years, this poetically written novel is one of the best debuts of the year. Told from multiple points-of-voices, the characters in this book struggle to heal after a devastating tragedy destroys their small town Idaho life. Beautifully written, Emily Ruskovich is an exciting new name in the literary world of the Pacific Northwest.

— From Kalani


A stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness, about the violence of memory and the equal violence of its loss--from O. Henry Prize-winning author Emily Ruskovich

Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award

Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape 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.

Praise for Idaho

"You know you're in masterly hands here. Emily] Ruskovich's language is itself a consolation, as she subtly posits the troubling thought that only decency can save us. . . . Ruskovich's novel will remind many readers of the great Idaho novel, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. . . . A] wrenching and beautiful book."--The New York Times Book Review

"Sensuous, exquisitely crafted."--The Wall Street Journal

"The first thing you should know about Idaho, the shatteringly original debut by O. Henry Prize winner Emily Ruskovich, is that it upturns everything you think you know about story. . . . You could read Idaho just for the sheer beauty of the prose, the expert way Ruskovich makes everything strange and yet absolutely familiar."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Mesmerizing . . . an] eerie story about what the heart is capable of fathoming and what the hand is capable of executing."--Marie Claire

"Idaho is a wonderful debut. Ruskovich knows how to build a page-turner from the opening paragraph."--Ft. WorthStar-Telegram

"Ruskovich's debut is haunting, a portrait of an unusual family and a state that becomes a foreboding figure in her vivid depiction."--The Huffington Post

About the Author

Emily Ruskovich grew up in the mountains of northern Idaho. She graduated from the University of Montana and received an MA in English from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was the 2011-2012 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She was a 2015 winner of the O. Henry Award for her story "Owl." From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780812984460
ISBN-10: 0812984463
Publisher: Random House Trade
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Pages: 336
Language: English