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.
About the author
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.
This special debut novel is a real gem because of the atmosphere as well as the special structure of the novel. Ann Mitchell and her husband Wade live on a woody mountain in Idaho. We know from the beginning that the ex-wife is in prison and the two daughters are dead or missing. It’s difficult to unravel the mystery because Wade suffers from a kind of dementia. What had happened and why? Emily Ruskovich leaves bread crumbs by means of different stories. It’s nice to zig zag through time in a world of multiple truths. Toward the end the stories become shorter and supported by the long descriptions of the lonely, sinister and misty landscape.