After unexpectedly inheriting a homestead in remote Alaska, Ernt Allbright moves his family to the Kaneq wilderness. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time as a POW in Vietnam, he looks at his new life as the answer to his problems. And in the beginning, it is, but his demons begin to catch up to him during the long winter nights in a hostile landscape.
The Great Alone is not his story, it’s the story of his resilient daughter Leni and the life she’s able to carve out in the wake of the Allbright family wreckage. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous ‘70s – think Vietnam, Patty Hearst, and gas shortages – Kristin Hannah has written a riveting novel of survival and brutality. That’s not to say it’s perfect, the novel can be melodramatic and a few plot points are rushed, but in the end, I still loved it. Memorable characters and an unforgettable setting make this bittersweet novel a winter standout.
Now, how do I get to Alaska?
(The Washington Post ran a review of this novel that had the stellar line “At one point, he even starts building a giant wall on the border of his property like some racist loon.” I received a review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.)