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West of Here by Jonathan Evison
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West of Here (2011)

by Jonathan Evison

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4962632,068 (3.51)45
Since the dawn of recorded history, the Klallam Indians have thrived upon the bounty of the Elwha River. In 1889, on the eve of Washington's statehood, the Olympic Peninsula remains America's last frontier. But not for long. As northwestern expansion reaches its feverish crescendo, the clock is ticking...… (more)
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English (24)  German (2)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Jonathan Evison has accomplished a very impressive feat of narrative and imagination with West of Here, set in Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. The novel brings us an impressive array of well-drawn characters and plot lines, moving gracefully back and forth in time from the 1890s, when the area was first being settled and explored by Whites (while natives were trying to keep hold of their culture and, to some extent at least, their land), to 2006, when the inhabited part of the area has been turned mostly in a suburban blight of fast-food joints and small, frustrated lives. The characters, for the most part, are well drawn and sympathetic, even the cast of 21st century people who's lives are marked by roadblocks and trap doors, often of their own making. The 19th century characters, on the other hand, are often somewhat larger than life. We willingly follow this cast of characters, natives as well as whites, through several months of their lives in both time periods. For the most part, we root for their success and/or redemption. The 1890s bring us more adventurous, heroic deeds, but both time periods, in the end, become engrossing as we grow to know the characters. And if the connections drawn between the characters of the two eras sometimes seem a bit forced, I was mostly willing to forgive what in the end seemed quite a minor flaw. The descriptions of nature in both eras are quite good, indeed. All in all, I highly recommend this book. ( )
  rocketjk | Dec 28, 2017 |
Enjoyed. Book about settling of Olympic Penninsula in Washington state, where I live. Goes back and forth between stories of settlement in the 1880s and 90s and stories in current period. Many of the characters in the story of today are descendants of folks in the original story. Enjoyed this quite a bit. The place where the story takes place is located among real places but itself is creation. Would recommend. (Audiobook.) ( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 25, 2015 |
An excellent read. I loved it. ( )
  CMiller600 | May 17, 2015 |
stopped reading at page 150...good writing and vivid characters but no attachment or story arc. ( )
  melopher | Sep 6, 2014 |
Just finished this book. I suppose I might be considered a picky reader, but life is short and I will never have the time to read books that I should or want to read, so I spend alot of time reading a few chapters and driving books back to the library, unread. Not so with this one.
This book is one that affirms my love for reading, my belief that reading can provide us with so much more understanding, entertainment, and can be the key that unlocks countless memories and visions of life than any passive entertainment (ie tv, internet, radio)ever could. In short, this book is an example of why I love to read and why I will continue to tote armfuls of books to and from the libraries every week.
The author tells us a good story as opposed to writing a novel. There is a difference. The story flowed smoothly between different historic eras, connecting ideals and relatives a hundred years apart, yet with similar life issues and passions. The subjects and issues are not spectacular, as many books seem to be, but they are still great adventure, suspense and common enough to all of us that I came away learning something about myself and assistance in putting my own life and struggles in perspective.
There is passion, vision, love, trouble and trials and even a strong supernatural element in the story, but what makes this book a victory is that it is all presented in a way that I could easily identify with the heros, villians, and bystanders without having to stretch my much.
The descriptions of land and seasons were so familiar and absorbable, the people were unique, special, but very believable, and the storylines connected seamlessly. As I said, the author did not need to resort to presenting a spectacular story in order to draw me back continuously until I finished the book. He wrote of identifiable people, places, and circumstances in an interesting, exciting, and edifing way. This guy wrote a masterful story in a way that drew me in, not as an outsider, but as one who belongs in BOTH generations.
When I read a book like this, I will research what else the author has written, what recommendations Amazon and other sites have for those who enjoyed this work, and I will do this by the middle of the book at latest.
I enjoyed this very much, will certainly recommend it to those that are marginal readers who need a good reason to become obsessive readers, and I may very well pick it up in a few years and enjoy it all over again. ( )
  pife43 | Jul 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Evison does a terrific job at creating a sense of place as he skips back and forth across the century, cutting between short chapters to sustain a propulsive momentum while juggling a sprawling network of plots and a massive cast of characters real enough to walk off the page. A big novel about the discovery and rediscovery of nature, starting over, and the sometimes piercing reverberations of history, this is a damn fine book.
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 1, 2010)
 
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Just as the keynote address was winding down, the rain came hissing up the little valley in sheets.
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A century after the late–19th-century settlers of Olympic Peninsula to the west of Seattle set out to build a dam, their descendants want to demolish it to bring back fish runs, providing one of the many plots in this satisfyingly meaty work from Evison (All About Lulu). The scenes of the early settlers track an expedition into the Olympic wilderness and the evolving relations between settlers and the Klallam tribe, provide insights into early feminism, and outline an entrepreneur's dream to build the all-important dam. By comparison, the contemporary stories are chock-full of modern woe and malaise, including a Bigfoot watcher and seafood plant worker who wishes to relive his glory days as a high school basketball star; an ex-convict who sets out into the wilderness to live off the land; and an environmental scientist who is hit with an unexpected development. Evison does a terrific job at creating a sense of place as he skips back and forth across the century, cutting between short chapters to sustain a propulsive momentum while juggling a sprawling network of plots and a massive cast of characters real enough to walk off the page. A big novel about the discovery and rediscovery of nature, starting over, and the sometimes piercing reverberations of history, this is a damn fine book
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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page

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