Karl Marlantes’s debut novel, Matterhorn, and his nonfiction account of combat, What It Is Like to Go to War, were both New York Times bestsellers and have sold over half a million copies combined across all formats. An enormous critical success, Matterhorn won the Center for Fiction’s 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and was named a New York Times Notable Book, among many other accolades.
Marlantes is a key talking head in Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s monumental 10-part, 18-hour documentary series “The Vietnam War,” which premieres on PBS September 2017. We have newly promoted Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War in conjunction with the series, and Marlantes is involved in publicity for the book—his name will be fresh in reader’s minds.
In Deep River, Marlantes turns from war to tell a sweeping family saga inspired by his grandmother’s generation of Finns who immigrated to the logging communities of the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the century. Deep River is an incredibly humane tale of courage, sacrifice, and reinvention in the face of political, economic, and natural forces much larger than the individual. The novel has great historical detail about the food, music, clothing, and social customs, all blending Scandinavian tradition with new American influences.
Like Ken Kesey’s 1964 classic Sometimes a Great Notion, Deep River takes a compelling deep dive into the dangerous world of gypo loggers in the Pacific Northwest (which was even more dangerous in the earlier era Marlantes writes about). In his nuanced exploration of everyday immigrant life on the western frontier, Marlantes is also writing in the tradition of the likes of Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner, and more recently, Ivan Doig.
Matterhorn also won the 2011 Indies Choice Award for Adult Debut Book of the Year, the 2011 William E. Colby Award, and the 2011 Pacific Northwest Book Award; was named one of Amazon’s top 5 best books of the year, and an Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Hudson, Shelf Awareness, Oregonian, and Pop Matters best book of the year; and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Sessalee Hensley was an early champion of the novel, which was selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program, saying of it, “Karl Marlantes has written a classic.”
Despite its focus on a very American experience, rights to Matterhorn sold in Israel (Sifriat Ma-ariv), China (Shanghai Gaotan), Taiwan (Ecus), Holland (Meulenhoff), France (Calmann-Levy), Hungary (Europa), Italy (Rizzoli), and Poland (Sonia Draga).