Synopses & Reviews
A gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife — separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil — fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands
Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss, to document some part of the growing war that claimed his own flesh and blood. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Helen, after an argument they both regret, he heads north from Seattle to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government.
While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as "the Birthplace of Winds." There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese.
Alone in their home three thousand miles to the south, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband's disappearance. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is — and what she is capable of doing. Somehow, she must find John and bring him home, a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows.
A powerful, richly atmospheric story of life and death, commitment and sacrifice, The Wind Is Not a River illuminates the fragility of life and the fierce power of love.
“What a great-hearted, beautifully written, and utterly riveting novel. It has a power that brings to mind the old Greek stories of war, love, and journey.” Ron Rash, bestselling author of Serena and Nothing Gold Can Stay
“Beautifully written, lyrical and elegiac, The Wind Is Not A River is a novel you must read….John Easley's struggle to survive and his wife Helen's struggle to find him form the most triumphant and heartbreaking love story I've read in years.” David Vann, author of Legend of a Suicide and Caribou Island
“Not since Cold Mountain have I read such a brilliantly sustained metaphor for our collective guilt and grief, nor such a stirring testament to the redemptive power of love. We need this novel now.” < b=""> Wayne Grady, author of < i=""> Emancipation Day <> <>
“This moving and powerfully written novel explores themes of war, life and death, morality, and love in a unique World War II battleground that very few people outside Alaska know about or remember….Payton…has written a suspenseful, beautifully researched title that readers will want to devour in one sitting.” Library Journal (starred review)
“Payton, in the loveliest of prose, illuminates a little-known aspect of WWII while portraying a devoted couple who bravely face down the isolation, pain, and sacrifice of wartime.” Booklist
About the Author
Brian Payton has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. He is the author of Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness, which was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Book Club pick, a Pearl's Pick on NPR, and a National Outdoor Book Awards Book of the Year. The Ice Passage: A True Story of Ambition, Disaster, and Endurance in the Arctic Wilderness and his novel Hail Mary Corner were published to acclaim in Canada. He lives with his family in Vancouver.