Idaho, 1995. Par une chaude et insouciante journée d'août, Wade, Jenny et leurs deux petites filles, June et May, âgées de six et neuf ans, se rendent dans une clairière de montagne pour ramasser du bois. Se produit alors un drame inimaginable, qui détruit la famille à tout jamais. Neuf ans plus tard, Wade a refait sa vie avec Ann au milieu des paysages sauvages et âpres de l'Idaho. Mais tandis que la mémoire de son mari vacille, Ann devient peu à peu obsédée par le passé de Wade. Déterminée à comprendre cette famille qu'elle n'a jamais connue, elle s'efforce de reconstituer ce qui est arrivé à la première épouse de Wade et à leurs filles.
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. Advance praise for Idaho “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 “Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho is a novel written like music. Striking arpeggios, haunting refrains, and then you come to a bridge, and Ruskovich leads you up into the mountains, introducing a chorus of rich and beautiful voices woven deep in the Idaho woods, each trying to come to their own understanding of a terrible tragedy. This book is full of extraordinary women and men overcoming extraordinary loss through love and forgiveness. 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 “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 “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 “Emily 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
One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time. But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.