“A picaresque adventure and spiritual coming-of-age tale — On the Road crossed with Henderson the Rain King… Deeply affecting.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Longlisted for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
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 shortly after enlisting. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée's family, Josie makes a run for it to Alaska with her kids, Paul and Ana. 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 in their rattling old RV, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, and past mistakes pursue her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization. A captivating, often hilarious novel of family, loss, wilderness, and the curse of a violent America, Heroes of the Frontier is a powerful examination of our contemporary life and a rousing story of adventure.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
DAVE EGGERS is the author of ten books, including the national best sellers The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney's, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco. Eggers is the cofounder of 826 National, a network of eight tutoring centers around the country, and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools, and donors to make college possible. He lives in Northern California with his family.
Read an Excerpt
There is proud happiness, happiness born of doing good work in the light of day, years of worthwhile labor, and afterward being tired, and content, and surrounded by family and friends, bathed in satisfaction and ready for a deserved rest—sleep or death, it would not matter.
Then there is the happiness of one’s personal slum. The happiness of being alone, and tipsy on red wine, in the passenger seat of an ancient recreational vehicle parked somewhere in Alaska’s deep south, staring into a scribble of black trees, afraid to go to sleep for fear that at any moment someone will get past the toy lock on the RV door and murder you and your two small children sleeping above.
Josie squinted into the low light of a long summer evening at a rest stop in southern Alaska. She was happy this night, with her pinot, in this RV in the dark, surrounded by unknown woods, and became less afraid with every new sip from her yellow plastic cup. She was content, though she knew this was a fleeting and artificial contentment, she knew this was all wrong—she should not be in Alaska, not like this. She had been a dentist and was no father of her children, an invertebrate, a loose-boweled man named Carl, a man who had told Josie marriage-by-documentation was a sham, the paper superfluous and reductive, had, eighteen months after he’d moved out, found a different woman to marry him. He’d met and now was, improbably, impossibly, marrying some other person, a person from Florida. It was happening in September, and Josie was fully justified in leaving, in disappearing until it was all over. Carl had no idea she had taken the children out of Ohio. Almost out of North America. And he could not know. And what could better grant her invisibility than this, a rolling home, no fixed address, a white RV in a state with a million other wayward travelers, all of them in white RVs? No one could ever find her. She’d contemplated leaving the country altogether, but Ana didn’t have a passport and Carl was needed to get one, so that option was out. Alaska was at once the same country but another country, was almost Russia, was almost oblivion, and if Josie left her phone and used only cash—she’d brought three thousand dollars in the kind of velvet bag meant to hold gold coins or magic beans—she was untraceable, untrackable. And she’d been a Girl Scout. She could tie a knot, gut a fish, start a fire. Alaska did not daunt her.
She and the kids had landed in Anchorage earlier that day, a grey day without promise or beauty, but the moment she’d stepped off the plane she found herself inspired. “Okay guys!” she’d said to her exhausted, hungry children. They had never expressed any interest in Alaska, and now here they were. “Here we are!” she’d said, and she’d done a celebratory little march. Neither child smiled.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved The Circle. This book was more of a ramble and I didnt like it as much because it felt less focused. Part of me felt like the author wanted a reason to take a tax exempt trip to research a novel set in Alaska. But it had its moments and I did get all the way through.
I kept hoping that the book would end with Josie being sent to a good rehab by an anonymous benefactor because she really needs one. I liked the story, but it reads as if Eggers got tired of writing and abruptly stopped. It's noteworthy that the characters are interesting enough to wonder what happens next. -- catwak
Fantastic writing filled with humor, wisdom, and sudpense. Very few write as well as Eggers. None better.