- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (February 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312577230
- ISBN-13: 978-0312577230
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4,682 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great Alone: A Novel Hardcover – February 6, 2018
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An Amazon Best Book of February 2018: In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a damaged vet named Ernt Allbright returns from Vietnam and moves his family to the wilds of Alaska to start their lives anew. Initially it's a welcome change, but as winter approaches, and Ernt's mental state deteriorates, his wife and daughter find themselves in an increasingly precarious position. Leni and Cora are the heart of what is as much a mother-daughter love story as it is a pressure cooker of a page-turner. Together they reckon not only with the elements, but with some bad decisions, born from the stubborn faith that Ernt will somehow be restored to the person he was before the war. It’s a testament to Hannah’s compassionate storytelling that you’ll be hard-pressed to call him a villain; Ernt actually shares the same Achilles heel as the rest of the Allbright clan: they do not know how to ask for, or receive, help (so much so, you just want to shake them). Fortunately the cavalry comes anyway, including a homesteader named “Large Marge” who doesn’t suffer fools (or domestic abusers). The muse of The Great Alone is clearly Alaska--in all its untamed, stunningly beautiful, dangerous glory. It provides the perfect backdrop for an equally dramatic tale, one that feels remarkably current for the 1970s setting. But Hannah’s latest also harkens to her mega bestselling The Nightingale: it highlights the heroics of everyday people, especially women. And it’s just a damn good read. --Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
From School Library Journal
Set in 1974 Alaska, this sweeping tale follows a girl coping with the dangers of domestic violence. Though ill-prepared for the extreme and harsh conditions, 13-year-old Leni and her parents, Ernt and Cora, have to learn how to survive in the unforgiving wild of their new home on the Kenai Peninsula. With the help of the small-knit community of endearing fellow homesteaders, the Allbrights manage to just barely stay afloat. But Ernt, who has never recovered from the trauma of fighting in the Vietnam War, struggles with the isolation and the interminably dark days of winter. Leni grows up witnessing her father (who is increasingly unable to control his paranoia and jealousy) abuse her beloved mother. Leni's greatest comfort and escape is her schoolmate and neighbor Matthew. Over the years, their friendship evolves into a forbidden romance. Hannah highlights, with vivid description, the natural dangers of Alaska juxtaposed against incongruous violence. VERDICT Give to teens who loved the author's The Nightingale and to fans of Jodi Picoult.—Tara Kehoe, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC
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Written by Kristin Hannah, this is the story of 13-year-old Leni who moves in 1974 (in an old VW bus of all things) to the uncivilized wilds of Alaska with her parents, Cora and Ernt. Cora is a loving mother, who thinks of Leni as her best friend. Ernt is a former Vietnam POW, who has nightmares and rages of anger that he takes out on his wife with his fists. This is the classic story of danger, and even in the middle of winter in godforsaken Alaska the real danger can be inside the cabin—not out.
While most of the plot is predictable, there are a few unexpected twists and turns that save the book from being totally banal. Still, this is hardly great literature.
Set in the 1970's in Alaska, it tells the story of a family, Lenora (Leni), her parents, Cora and Ernt, who had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam whose experiences had "snapped something in him." Full of pain and suffering and flashbacks before we knew what PTSD could do to a person, and the effects that brought to the people they loved. Through it all, Cora reminds Leni, "Love doesn't fade or die, baby girl." I can almost hear her voice.
Alaska itself and its wildness and beauty is as much a character as the people who are brave enough to live there. I could never do it myself, Southern girl that I am, shivering at the thought of the cold and deep darkness of an Alaskan winter. But Hannah is tempting me to visit one day, perhaps in July!