Idaho: Book summary and reviews of Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Idaho

A Novel

by Emily Ruskovich

Idaho
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2017
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Shocking and heartbreaking, Ruskovich has crafted a remarkable love story and a narrative that will stay with readers." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A provocative first novel filled to the brim with dazzling language, mystery, and a profound belief in the human capacity to love and seek forgiveness." - Kirkus

"Idaho is both a place and an emotional dimension. Haunted, haunting, Ruskovich's novel winds through time, braiding events and their consequences in the most unexpected and moving ways." - Andrea Barrett

"Idaho begins with a rusted truck and ends up places you couldn't imagine. Its language is an enchantment, its vision brutal and sublime. This book is interested in what can't be repaired and every kind of grace we find in the face of that futility. It caught and held me absolutely." - Leslie Jamison

"Emily Ruskovich's Idaho is a novel written like music. Striking arpeggios, haunting refrains, and then you come to a bridge, and Ruskovich leads you up into the mountains, introducing a chorus of rich and beautiful voices woven deep in the Idaho woods, each trying to come to their own understanding of a terrible tragedy ... Ruskovich digs deeply into everyday moments, and shows that it is there, in our quietest thoughts and experiences, where we find and create our true selves." - Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

"It's been six years since I first read Emily Ruskovich's breathtaking prose, felt the force of her unsparing imagination, and knew I was in the presence of a singular talent. I've been waiting for the novel she would write ever since." - Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

"Emily Ruskovich has written a poem in prose, a beautiful and intricate homage to place, and a celebration of the defeats and triumphs of love. Beautifully crafted, emotionally evocative, and psychologically astute, Idaho is one of the best books I have read in a long time." - Chinelo Okparanta, author of Under the Udala Trees

"Emily Ruskovich has intricately entwined a terrifying human story with an austere and impervious setting. The result—something bigger than either—is beautiful, brutal, and incandescent." - Deirdre McNamer, author of Red Rover

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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.

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