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
Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award
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. WorthStar-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 a world of vivid particularity, a collection of evanescent traces and tracks, stains and remnants" * Guardian * "It's a set-up that reads straight out of the darkest of psychological thrillers ... That an act of such brutality inspires storytelling as beautiful as this is reason enough for this debut novel to stand out from the crowd" * Independent * "Writing that has the cool sharpness of lemonade... Unflinching, unfrilly, multi-layered storytelling that is both beautiful and devastating" -- Rachel Joyce "You're in masterly hands here... will remind many of the great Idaho novel, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping... wrenching and beautiful" * New York Times Book Review * "At first glance this novel looks like a typical example of the 'post-catastrophe' genre... In fact, Idaho is deeper and broader -- and far more interesting... Ruskovich is not afraid of tackling the messy ambiguity of 'real' life, nor the difficulty of truly knowing another person, and she delivers her revelations with assurance and skill" -- Kate Saunders * The Times *
Emily Ruskovich grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, on Hoodoo mountain. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story and the Virginia Quarterly Review. A winner of a 2015 O. Henry Award and a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, she now teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado, Denver. Idaho is her first novel.