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Rocky Hill United States of America
A closer look at wayward Alaska!
Feb 05, 2019 10:34 PM 1128 Views
(Updated Feb 06, 2019 04:33 PM)



As the weather in beautiful Kaneq turns from sunny to bleak,

The emotions heave tumultuously for the strong as well as meek,

I, the armchair traveler, read some words with a smile and some with a frown,

Here is a touching yet adventurous story set in wayward Alaska’s fictional town!


About the Author:

Kristin Hannah: She is the author of 20 novels and was a lawyer before she took up writing. Her most popular book, The Nightingale, has received many accolades and has been translated in 43 languages! This book is up in my ‘To Read’ list.


The Great Alone:

This story is about the Allbrights family consisting of Ernt, his wife Cora and their daughter Lenora. In 1974, they move to Alaska’s town Kaneq having inherited a cabin from a friend. Ernt has been a Prisoner of War and struggles with PTSD issues. His nights are streaked with war nightmares, his anger gets out of control at times and his decisions are mostly rash and insensitive. However, the love that Cora has for him is deep and loyal. Understandably, the 13-year-old Lenora and Cora share a strong friendship. The mother-daughter duo works out clumsy ways to steer away from Ernt’s temper. They are aware that, as a family, they need to stick together.

Their normal day in Kaneq constitutes of laborious work like washing, cooking, farming, hunting and storing food for the winter. June is Spring, July is summer and August is fall. The rest of the year constitutes the winter! The dark, cold and dangerous winter not only brings a heavy downpour of snow but also bleak moods, emotional upheavals and depressing tendencies.

Part one is when Lenora is an adolescent and goes to a school that has a handful of children. She sees many happy days with her family. However, the winter shatters the calm and fatal accidents bring waves of sorrow to the small community. The community also gets divided into 2 parts where some people want progress and technology to change their life whereas the others do not want Alaska to be corrupted with tourists and commercialism. Few of the townspeople are lawbreakers and understandably, they do not want any authorities running the show.

Part two of this longish book describes Lenora as a 17-year-old young girl who has fully adapted to the harsh life in Alaska. She is bright, mature and hardworking. She is a great huntswoman and an integral member of the community. Her love story with a neighbor brings a lot of adventure to the last 100 pages of the book.



-The chatter of the human voices felt small and transient in the bigness of the world here.

-During the summers, the night didn't fall. Instead the sky became a deep lavender pink.

There were no stars.

-No amount of reading or knowledge will prepare you for the first winter of Alaska.

-You can make just one mistake in Alaska. The second one will kill you.

-There were a hundred ways to be lost in Alaska. And a hundred more to be found.


My Opinion:

This has been one of the most moving books that I have ever read. I usually read mysteries or fantasies. This story of a little family that seeks a new life in an unknown place, was a very different experience for me. I felt very much at home with the Allbright family, it was like living in their log cabin with them. I watching Lenora grow up from her confusing, adolescent age to a mature young fighter. I felt the ending could have been better with no shadows of lingering sorrow. But that is no justification to lessen any stars from the rating.

As author Katrina Mayer has said, “A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair.” This quote couldn’t have hit the truth more aptly regarding this book.

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The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah