Heroes of the Frontier
A darkly comic and “deeply affecting" tale (The New York Times) of a mother and her two young children on a journey through an Alaskan wilderness plagued by wildfires and a uniquely American madness. • From the bestselling author of The Circle.
“A picaresque adventure and spiritual coming-of-age tale—On the Road crossed with Henderson the Rain King.” —The New York Times
A captivating, often hilarious novel of family and wilderness, this is a powerful examination of our contemporary life and a rousing story of adventure.
Josie and her children's father have split up, she's been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she's grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed shortly after enlisting. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée's family, Josie makes a run for it to Alaska with her kids, Paul and Ana. At first their trip feels like a vacation: they see bears and bison, they eat hot dogs cooked on a bonfire, and they spend nights parked along icy cold rivers in dark forests. But as they drive in their rattling old RV, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, and past mistakes pursue her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
After her personal and professional life hit rock bottom, single mom Josie heads to Alaska, where she strikes out in a battered RV with her two kids in tow. Heroes of the Frontier reveals a different side of Dave Eggers—it’s more domestic and tender than A Hologram for the King and The Circle, ambitious works of social commentary. But Eggers’ sharp wit is in fine form; Josie's quest to drop off the grid and reclaim her self veers from funny to moving to strange. Beautifully written, the novel made us daydream about what it'd be like to just pack up and go.
The frontier in Eggers's (The Circle) appealing and affecting new novel is Alaska, but also, arguably, the adventures of its heroine, Josie. The core of the novel is relatable to anyone who has thought about suddenly starting over in an unknown place which is to say, just about everyone. Thirty-something Josie has abruptly abandoned her failing dental practice and conventional life in Ohio, in search of something she can't exactly define but knows that she needs. The move is a little less outrageous than it first appears, because Josie's older sister, Sam, lives there, in a town called Homer. On the other hand, Josie has two young children, the fussy Ana and the old-beyond-his-years Paul. Eggers doesn't tell the reader much about Josie's Ohio life right away, except that she's broken up with the children's father, Carl, and has not yet told the children. In this way, the reader remains a bit unmoored throughout, which simulates Josie's state of mind: she's making it up as she goes along. For example, not having made smart financial calculations, she finds herself spending like a drunken sailor and constantly recalibrating her plan to explain this new situation to the children. Eggers's shaggy plot may not be to all tastes, but his writing is fresh and full of empathy, his observations on modern society apt and insightful. 150,000-copy announced first printing.