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The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,2851674,618 (4.04)68
Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
Ernt Allbright has returned from the Vietnam war to his wife, Coraline and his daughter Lenora. He was held as a POW and has come back changed from the loving man that Cora remembered and fell in love with. He is having a hard time keeping jobs and learns that he has inherited, from another POW friend, a place and land in Kaneq, Alaska.
The family moves there and at first it is exciting, and beautiful, but you have to learn how to survive in such a harsh place. Ernt, Cora and Leni all learn to fish, build, hunt, etc to keep themselves living.
Things go well for a while, then Ernt goes through some rough times, as does Cora & Leni. Money becomes tight, food becomes a little scarcer, and the winters are hard to bear.
They become friends with people who are more than willing to help, but Ernt has his own thoughts about how to take care of his family, and pushes people away.

This was so descriptive of how beautiful Alaska must be. I thought there was a little too much descriptiveness in the novel. I also felt that some of the story was a little predictable. There is a real understanding of core love in this novel, also. Mothers and children. ( )
  JReynolds1959 | Jul 3, 2020 |
Good book. I’ve been a fan of Hannah's after falling head over heels in love with her writing after reading The Nightingale. Though I liked this, it just did not live up to The Nightingale. It was still an extremely powerful and thoroughly enjoyable novel - beautiful and devastating. A captivating story of love, survival, and resilience. I really loved the setting and the atmosphere and description of the Alaskan Wilderness, but this kind of felt like two different books to me. There are some really tough issues that are tackled in the book - domestic abuse, death of a parent, alcoholism, depression, etc. Still a very solid novel and one that I would recommend. ( )
  jonathanpapz | Jul 2, 2020 |
In 1974, Ernt Allbright, a returned Vietnam POW, inherits a homestead in Alaska from an Army buddy who died in the war. He has lost yet another job, and is suffering from what we now call PTSD. He packs up his family which consists of his delicate, beautiful wife Cora and their 13 year old daughter Leni, and drives their VW bus north to Alaska to start a new life. In a remote corner of the state, they find a cabin with no electricity or running water, and a community of unforgettable characters, who pitch in to help them prepare for the dark, incomprehensibly difficult winter. The story follows the Allbrights through their years in Alaska, their return to Seattle, through violence both man-made and natural. This is a compelling story, with believable characters, which I listened to as an audiobook. Highly recommended. ( )
  rglossne | Jul 1, 2020 |
Hannah has a lovely way with words. This is a great book albeit could have been nicely 100 pages shorter. Domestic abuse is a difficult subject and I appreciate how Hannah shows the complexity of the relationships. It does seem as those the father really loves his family even though he is abusive towards them. Obviously his war experiences were a large part of his problem but he was also very jealous and couldn't control his drinking. He could have tried harder to overcome his issues. Although, I do wish that Cora wasn't the stereotypical woman who stays with him for love or fear until pushed to the limit.

Also, the "coming home" was a bit overdone. She didn't move there until she was 13 and left when she was 18. Alaska became part of her soul because she lived there for 5 years??? And how the other townspeople became so endearing to her and her mother is a bit of a stretch. A call to the Governor saves the day of course. Nice and tidy for sure.

I'm glad I read it though 4 stars is a tad generous maybe 3.75. ( )
  ReneeNL | Jun 29, 2020 |
Kristin Hannah has done it again!! I didn't think I could love this book as much as I loved "The Nightingale". I was wrong and glad I was. This is a story about love and relationships. How they can go wrong and how they can go right. It about a love between mother and daughter, husband and wife. Hannah took me on an emotional rollercoaster. You think it is the story of Cora, Ernt, and Leni and then it becomes so much more. It is a story of the choices we make for love and their consequences.

I would highly recommend this book! Make sure you have a box of tissues handy. ( )
  Martha662 | Jun 27, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hannah, Kristinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whelan, JuliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.
---JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU
Dedication
To the women in my family. All of them are warriors. Sharon, Debbie, Laura, Julie, Mackenzie, Sara, Kaylee, Toni, Jacquie, Dana, Leslie, Katie, Joan, Jerrie, Liz, Courtney, and Stephanie.

And to Braden, our newest adventurer.
First words
That spring, rain fell in great sweeping gusts that rattled the rooftops.
Quotations
"Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next. There's a saying: Up here you can make one mistake. The second one will kill you."
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