West of Here

West of Here

by Jonathan Evison

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

At the foot of the Elwha River, the muddy outpost of Port Bonita is about to boom, fueled by a ragtag band of dizzyingly disparate men and women unified only in their visions of a more prosperous future. A failed accountant by the name of Ethan Thornburgh has just arrived in Port Bonita to reclaim the woman he loves and start a family. Ethan’s obsession with a brighter future impels the damming of the mighty Elwha to harness its power and put Port Bonita on the map.

More than a century later, his great-great grandson, a middle manager at a failing fish- packing plant, is destined to oversee the undoing of that vision, as the great Thornburgh dam is marked for demolition, having blocked the very lifeline that could have sustained the town. West of Here is a grand and playful odyssey, a multilayered saga of destiny and greed, adventure and passion, that chronicles the life of one small town, turning America’s history into myth, and myth into a nation’s shared experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616200824
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 651,234
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.02(h) x 1.36(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Evison is the author of the novels All About LuluWest of HereThe Revised Fundamentals of CaregivingThis Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, Lawn Boy, and Legends of the North Cascades. He lives with his wife and family in Washington State.

Read an Excerpt

West of Here

A NOVEL
By Jonathan Evison

ALGONQUIN BOOKS OF CHAPEL HILL

Copyright © 2011 Jonathan Evison
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-56512-952-8


Chapter One

footprints

SEPTEMBER 2006

Just as the keynote address was winding down, the rain came hissing up the little valley in sheets. Crepe paper streamers began bleeding red and blue streaks down the front of the dirty white stage, and the canopy began to sag beneath the weight of standing water, draining a cold rivulet down the tuba player's back. When the rain started coming sideways in great gusts, the band furiously began packing their gear. In the audience, corn dogs turned to mush and cotton candy wilted. The crowd quickly scattered, and within minutes the exodus was all but complete. Hundreds of Port Bonitans funneled through the exits toward their cars, leaving behind a vast muddy clearing riddled with sullied napkins and paperboard boats.

Krig stood his ground near center stage, his mesh Raiders jersey plastered to his hairy stomach, as the valediction sounded its final stirring note.

"There is a future," Jared Thornburgh said from the podium. "And it begins right now."

"Hell yes!" Krig shouted, pumping a fist in the air. "Tell it like it is, J-man!" But when he looked around for a reaction, he discovered he was alone. J-man had already vacated the stage and was running for cover.

Knowing that the parking lot would be gridlock, Krig cut a squelchy path across the clearing toward the near edge of the chasm, where a rusting chain-link fence ran high above the sluice gate. Hooking his fingers through the fence, he watched the white water roar through the open jaws of the dam into the canyon a hundred feet below, where even now a beleaguered run of fall chinook sprung from the shallows only to beat their silver heads against the concrete time and again. As a kid he had thought it was funny.

The surface of Lake Thornburgh churned and tossed on the upriver side, slapping at the concrete breakwater. The face of the dam, hulking and gray, teeming with ancient moss below the spillway, was impervious to these conditions. Its monstrous twin turbines knew nothing of their fate as they hummed up through the earth, vibrating in Krig's bones.

Standing there at the edge of the canyon with the wet wind stinging his face, Krig felt the urge to leave part of himself behind, just like the speech said. Grimacing under the strain, he began working the ring back and forth over his fat knuckle for the first time in twenty-two years. It was just a ring. There were eleven more just like it. Hell, even Tobin had one, and he rode the pine most of that season. Krig knew J-man was talking about something bigger. J-man was talking about rewriting history. But you had to start somewhere. When at last Krig managed to work the ring over his knuckle, he held it in his palm and gave pause.

"Well," he said, addressing the ring. "Here goes nothin', I guess."

And rearing back, he let it fly into a stiff headwind, and watched it plummet into the abyss until he lost sight of it. He lingered at the edge of the gorge for a long moment and let the rain wash over him, until his clinging jersey grew heavy. Retracing his own steps across the muddy clearing toward the parking slab, Krig discovered that already the rain was washing away his footprints.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from West of Here by Jonathan Evison Copyright © 2011 by Jonathan Evison. Excerpted by permission of ALGONQUIN BOOKS OF CHAPEL HILL. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

James P. Othmer

“Every sentence, character and hard-won patch of Pacific Northwestern earth shimmers with kinetic truth.”
—James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist

From the Publisher

“‘Epic’ is yet another one of those words that’s been stripped of its meaning from overuse, but no other word can properly describe this novel. I’m in awe. You will be, too.” —Ron Currie Jr., author of Everything Matters!

“A daring, gorgeously structured, and deeply satisfying expedition of a novel. West of Here deftly connects lives and centuries, pipe dreams and fierce realities, the sensibilities of the modern with the story telling punch of the classic.” —James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist

“A creative bonanza of a novel about the dreamers who settled this lush corner of the country and the people who wake up here today. Its characters and story lines are separated by more than a century yet bound by geography, a dam, and a shared humanity that spills across these pages.” —Jim Lynch, author of Border Songs

David Liss

“Intelligent, insightful, poignant, funny, endlessly entertaining and perpetually thought-provoking.”
—David Liss, author of Whiskey Rebels

Jim Lynch

“A creative bonanza of a novel.”
—Jim Lynch, author of The Highest Tide and Border Songs

Vanity Fair

“‘Epic’ is yet another one of those words that’s been stripped of its meaning from overuse, but no other word can properly describe this novel. I’m in awe. You will be, too.” —Ron Currie Jr., author of Everything Matters!

“A daring, gorgeously structured, and deeply satisfying expedition of a novel. West of Here deftly connects lives and centuries, pipe dreams and fierce realities, the sensibilities of the modern with the story telling punch of the classic.” —James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist

“A creative bonanza of a novel about the dreamers who settled this lush corner of the country and the people who wake up here today. Its characters and story lines are separated by more than a century yet bound by geography, a dam, and a shared humanity that spills across these pages.” —Jim Lynch, author of Border Songs A "booming, bighearted epic." —Vanity Fair

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