Thursday, April 21, 2011

West of Here

This is a novel set in the fictional town of Port Bonita on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  The  plot involves the damming of the river on which Port Bonita is located and follows the stories of a variety of characters, switching back and forward in time between the 1800's, when the dam was built, to 2006, when it is going to be demolished.

There are a lot of characters and I found some of their stories distracting.   There are lots of loose ends. There is a strange paranormal relationship between the lives of two boys, one in 1890, the other in 2006.  The significance escaped me.  The author does a good job of invoking the feel of a frontier town in this part of the world, and if you have ever lived in the Northwest you will recognize the drippy firs, the mossy forest floors, the ugly clearcut hillsides, the mighty rivers roaring through their narrow canyons. 

I am undecided about this book.  It was a pretty good read, but not something I would go back to.  I think if you like this type of novel, it would probably be worth your time.  I'd give it about three stars, if I was grading.

West of Here          Jonathan Evison        Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

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