Synopses & Reviews
A stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness, about the violence of memory and the equal violence of its loss — from O. Henry Prize–winning author Emily Ruskovich
Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho, where they are bound together by more than love. With her husband’s memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade’s first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. In a story written in exquisite prose and told from multiple perspectives — including Ann, Wade, and Jenny, now in prison — we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny’s lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character in Idaho.
In a wild emotional and physical landscape, Wade’s past becomes the center of Ann’s imagination, as Ann becomes determined to understand the family she never knew — and to take responsibility for them, reassembling their lives, and her own.
"Emily Ruskovich has written a poem in prose, a beautiful and intricate homage to place, and a celebration of the defeats and triumphs of love. Beautifully crafted, emotionally evocative, and psychologically astute, Idaho is one of the best books I have read in a long time." Chinelo Okparanta, author of Under the Udala Trees
"It’s been six years since I first read Emily Ruskovich’s breathtaking prose, felt the force of her unsparing imagination, and knew I was in the presence of a singular talent. I’ve been waiting for the novel she would write ever since, and now it’s here: Idaho begins with a rusted truck and ends up places you couldn’t imagine. Its language is an enchantment, its vision brutal and sublime. This book is interested in what can’t be repaired and every kind of grace we find in the face of that futility. It caught and held me absolutely." Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams
"With her amazing sentences, Ruskovich draws readers into the novel's world, using a number of well-developed voices to describe various perspectives.... Shocking and heartbreaking, Ruskovich has crafted a remarkable love story and a narrative that will stay with readers." Publishers Weekly
"Idaho is both a place and an emotional dimension. Haunted, haunting, Ruskovich’s novel winds through time, braiding events and their consequences in the most unexpected and moving ways." Andrea Barrett
About the Author
Emily Ruskovich grew up in the mountains of northern Idaho. She graduated from the University of Montana and received an MA in English from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was the 2011–2012 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She was a 2015 winner of the O. Henry Award for her story "Owl."