A captivating, often hilarious novel of family and wilderness from the bestselling author of The Circle , this is a powerful examination of our contemporary life and a rousing story of adventure. Read more...
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A captivating, often hilarious novel of family and wilderness from the bestselling author of The Circle, this is a powerful examination of our contemporary life and a rousing story of adventure. Josie and her children's father have split up, she's been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she's grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fianc e's family, Josie makes a run for it, figuring Alaska is about as far as she can get without a passport. Josie and her kids, Paul and Ana, rent a rattling old RV named the Chateau, and at first their trip feels like a vacation: They see bears and bison, they eat hot dogs cooked on a bonfire, and they spend nights parked along icy cold rivers in dark forests. But as they drive, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, past mistakes pursuing her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization. A tremendous new novel from the best-selling author of The Circle, Heroes of the Frontier is the darkly comic story of a mother and her two young children on a journey through an Alaskan wilderness plagued by wildfires and a uniquely American madness.
- ISBN-13: 9780451493804
- ISBN-10: 045149380X
- Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
- Publish Date: July 2016
- Page Count: 400
- Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.55 pounds
Off to Anchorage
The protagonist of Dave Eggers’ new novel, Heroes of the Frontier, is hardly a model of parental rectitude: She abandons her home and dental practice in Ohio to traverse Alaska in a rickety RV with her two children. Starting from this dubious premise, Eggers weaves an engaging story of second chances and the fierce beauty of maternal love.
Approaching age 40, Josie is haunted by a malpractice case filed by a former patient whose litigious son-in-law claims she missed evidence of an oral cancer in a routine dental examination. Her guilt over that incident is surpassed only by the anguish she feels over the death of another patient, a young Marine who was killed in Afghanistan.
While Josie’s tenuous hold on rationality propels the novel, Eggers gives her a pair of appealing traveling companions. Her 8-year-old son, Peter, is “far more reasonable and kind and wise than his mother,” personality traits that come in handy for dealing with his 5-year-old sister, Ana, who’s “tuned to a different galactic frequency.” Both children demonstrate remarkable resilience, resigning themselves to the fact that there’s “no longer any logical pattern to their lives.”
This tiny crew navigates a craft north from Anchorage, on Alaska’s highways and back roads. Along the way, they take in a magic show on a cruise ship, meet a veteran of one of America’s lesser-known conflicts—the invasion of Grenada—and live in a cottage on the site of an abandoned silver mine. Eggers captures the essential weirdness of this journey while firmly anchoring it to Josie’s emotional crisis.
Heroes of the Frontier seems at first an ironic description of this tiny band. But what Eggers shows so convincingly is that there’s a certain heroism in trading a disastrous life for the vague glimpse of a new one. It’s a vote for the optimistic notion that tomorrow has the potential to be better than today.