The Great Alone / Kristin Hannah

This novel chronicles an adventure taken by a PTSD-disabled Vietnam veteran and his family in Alaska.  He inherits a ramshackle hut in the middle of nowhere and moves to Alaska to try to make new beginnings. “Try” is the operative word as he is not very successful.  It becomes clear to his daughter that he’s been a physically abusive husband and she hatches plans to escape. Dangers lurk all around in their backwoods Alaska home – bears, thin ice on the lake, crevasses, icy roads, no phone service, no plumbing, no electricity, outhouses, bears. It’s all told very realistically, the more so because we learn in the afterward that the author has lived in a similar setting in Alaska (hopefully without the spousal abuse, though she doesn’t say).  At the same time, a supportive network of neighbors helps the struggling newcomers, and shows them survival skills, which are retold graphically and entertainingly, including shooting and field-dressing a mountain goat.     Elaine 10/12/2018

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