The New York Times #1 Bestseller from the author of The Nightingale
"An unforgettable portrait of love and war" People
Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love.
Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen year old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.
At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America. With her trademark combination of elegant prose and deeply drawn characters, Kristin Hannah has delivered an enormously powerful story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable and enduring strength of women.
About the highest stakes a family can face and the bonds that can tear a community apart, this is a novel as spectacular and powerful as Alaska itself. It is the finest example of Kristin Hannah's ability to weave together the deeply personal with the universal.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Set in Alaska in the 1970s, Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a riveting, suspenseful story about teenager Leni, whose troubled Vietnam-vet father decides to start over as a homesteader. Speaking to us about her books, Hannah—also the bestselling author of The Nightingale—said her top priority is creating characters who feel absolutely real. As Leni and her mother’s existence becomes more perilous, we become more invested in their well-being. With its vivid natural settings and wonderful depictions of a resilient, isolated community, Hannah’s novel is an immersive adventure.
Hannah's vivid depiction of a struggling family begins as a young father and POW returns from Vietnam, suffering from PTSD. The Allbright family, barely making ends meet in 1974, moves from Seattle to the untamed wilderness of Kaneq, Alaska, to claim a parcel of land left to Ernt by a slain Army buddy. Together with his wife, Cora, who spurned her middle-class parents to marry him, and their 13-year-old daughter, Leni, who barely remembers the adoring dad who's become so restless, Ernt is totally unprepared for the rigors of the family's new home. Soon, his fragile mental health and his relentless abuse of Cora worsen during the long nights of the family's first winter up north, even as the quirky and steely homesteaders around the Allbrights rally to help them. They intervene by forcing Ernt to leave in the winter to work on the newly started oil pipeline, but the added income and absences from Kaneq fail to fix his intractable paranoia and anger. Meanwhile, Leni finds friendship and love in a neighbor boy, Matthew, who is also a troubled survivor of a shattered family. Hannah skillfully situates the emotional family saga in the events and culture of the late '70s gas shortages, Watergate, Ted Bundy, Patty Hearst, and so on. But it's her tautly drawn characters Large Marge, Genny, Mad Earl, Tica, Tom who contribute not only to Leni's improbable survival but to her salvation amid her family's tragedy.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Hooked from beginning to end
Loved this book and the imagery the author conjured in my mind. Was sad to finish it.
Loved this book from beginning to end. Well worth the read.
I could not put this book down. Right from the beginning I was enthralled with the story and the characters. I feel in love with the story of Leni and the beauty of Alaska. Such a well written story! A must read.