- Two big selling points – beautiful cover and set in Alaska.
Summary from GoodReads:
On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unraveling. Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene, haunted by a tragedy in her past, are trying to rebuild their life together. Following the outline of Gary’s old dream, they’re hauling logs to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health, to build the kind of cabin that drew them to Alaska in the first place.
But this island is not right for Irene. They are building without plans or advice, and when winter comes early, the overwhelming isolation of the prehistoric wilderness threatens their bond to the core. Caught in the emotional maelstrom is their adult daughter, Rhoda, who is wrestling with the hopes and disappointments of her own life. Devoted to her parents, she watches helplessly as they drift further apart.
This book is .. there is no single word to describe it. Some words that come close are:
I was unprepared for the heavy, depressive feel of the story and, thinking back on it, I should have been prepared. The cover is dark, the setting is not known for it’s warmth (thus inspiring feelings of joy), and, although I felt my mood descending with each page read, I couldn’t tear my eyes or my thoughts away from the train-wreck of a story the people in Caribou Island were living.
I found the way the book to be written, the transitions between characters to be mildly confusing at first, but then the rhythm of the book began to flow and the imagery was so powerful it added even more to the story. I felt cold, depressed, an aching hunger and even began to experience daggers of pain in my head in sympathy to the pains that Irene felt.
While this is a powerful book and a powerful story, it wasn’t the book for me. I prefer books with an element of redemption to give me a sense of satisfaction in finishing – but I found none of that here. I found no closure, just heartbreak and, in thinking back on having read it, I’m amazed that I devoted so much time and invested so much energy in pushing through the story.
I have a difficult time rating books for the above reasons. I found the writing to be masterful, the images created to be brilliant but the story just wasn’t for me. So this time, I am going to rate the book on how it made me feel and hope that this review provides enough of a warning so that others who might also be looking for something a bit more hopeful can pick up this story prepared.
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