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.
Praise for Idaho
“You know you’re in masterly hands here. [Emily] Ruskovich’s language is itself a consolation, as she subtly posits the troubling thought that only decency can save us. . . . Ruskovich’s novel will remind many readers of the great Idaho novel, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. . . . [A] wrenching and beautiful book.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Sensuous, exquisitely crafted.”—The Wall Street Journal
“The first thing you should know about Idaho, the shatteringly original debut by O. Henry Prize winner Emily Ruskovich, is that it upturns everything you think you know about story. . . . You could read Idaho just for the sheer beauty of the prose, the expert way Ruskovich makes everything strange and yet absolutely familiar.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Mesmerizing . . . [an] eerie story about what the heart is capable of fathoming and what the hand is capable of executing.”—Marie Claire
“Idaho is a wonderful debut. Ruskovich knows how to build a page-turner from the opening paragraph.”—Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
“Ruskovich’s debut is haunting, a portrait of an unusual family and a state that becomes a foreboding figure in her vivid depiction.”—The Huffington Post
“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
“Ruskovich digs deeply into everyday moments, and shows that it is there, in our quietest thoughts and experiences, where we find and create our true selves.”—Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief
“[Idaho] caught and held me absolutely.”—Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams
“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
“Ruskovich has intricately entwined a terrifying human story with an austere and impervious setting. The result—something bigger than either—is beautiful, brutal, and incandescent.”—Deirdre McNamer, author of Red Rover