Commentary
7:34 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Book Review:

What would your legacy look like three generations down the line? Would it be a fledging family business? A statue symbolizing a conquest? Moral values and religious beliefs?

Jonathan Evison’s West of Here is a novel of the western expansion. It juxtaposes the legacy of the past with the drama of the present in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington state’s Pacific coast. While everything changes, basic human nature remains the same as the two very distinct worlds collide in interwoven chapters.

Evison captures the spirit of the early settlers, the dreamers, the loners, the opportunists, and the humanitarians who braved the elements in the spirit of adventure and discovery. Land is ripe for development, the salmon are multitudinous—and no one has seen it up close, but there is some kind of giant creature haunting the woods. Evison skillfully shows how the past informs future generations—no matter how far one strays from home—and how the landscape in which one lives is both a blessing and a curse.

In conversation, the two epochs echo back and forth about the American spirit and how men and women forged and settled a new land. This delicious and rollicking American saga is the perfect antidote to the cruel cold of a bitter evening.

West of Here is now out in paperback. Find Sarah Bagby’s original review of the novel here.

NPR’s Lynn Neary reviews West of Here [Link]

Jonathan Evison on Twitter [Link]