The Great Alone

The Great Alone

Book - 2018 | First U.S. edition
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Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780312577230 (hardcover)
0312577230 (hardcover)
Branch Call Number: FIC HANNAH
Characteristics: 440 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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From Library Staff

When all else fails, move to Alaska. Leni's father, a Vietnam war veteran with untreated PTSD, reaches this conclusion and moves his family to Alaska, with disastrous results.

December selection. Meeting December 16th - 2pm

It's 1974. Dad is a Vietnam POW survivor and has massive PTSD, including nightmares and rampant paranoia--and living in Alaska makes everything worse. Mom figures that if she loves him enough, he'll stop bashing her around. Daughter figures if she can keep a low-enough profile, everything will be... Read More »

Set in 1970's Alaska, a family tries to survive the harsh elements...and each other.

From the critics

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Nov 20, 2020

A good read and quite a thick book so it lasts a long time. The description of Alaska is beautiful. I had a hard time with the last 200 pages. It felt like the main character kept having bad things happen just to keep the story going. There were a couple instances in those last 200 pages where I felt the characters made a choice that was out of character or just felt under developed. You want the character to have a hopeful ending but it felt like I was never going to get it because so many bad things happen in the last half of the book.

Nov 19, 2020

An amazing story. At times difficult to read the traumatic situations, but overall an amazing read. The growth and development of the characters; their drive. The world of their lives, came alive in my mind. It truly took me away to the world of Alaska int her dark. A great read. Thank you Kristin Hannah.

Nov 01, 2020

Excellent book. Great writing, characters you feel, you have to read this book.

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

This story stole my heart! It is beautifully written, with gorgeous descriptions of Alaska, and is wonderfully atmospheric. I didn't want to leave this story or these characters. I could write forever about this book, my thoughts, and love for this story.

Oct 12, 2020

Being a visual person, this book was like watching a movie of Alaska and the family unprepared for homesteading in the 70's. Her description of the relationship between Cora and Ernt was from someone who obviously understands the abused woman. The character development was superb with the deep and abiding love of a mother and her child. The book made me want to visit Alaska as it was and not as a tourist.

Sep 21, 2020

This book was good but hard to read in a lot of ways. It is hard to read about abuse and domestic violence. There is a lot of education in the book about the Alaska of the 60's and 70's. The ending was a bit corny.

Sep 18, 2020

I have never read a book from this author, and I am looking forward to reading more from her. I love all things related to homesteading and the wilderness. This book was really well done, and I was in love with the first 1/3rd of it. In a way, I do wish I had only read part I, because it felt like it was finished in and of itself. Part II seemed a bit dramatic and unrealistic to me. However, I still enjoyed the whole book and she did a great job writing the characters.

Sep 14, 2020

Such a good read! This was my introduction to Kristin Hannah and I can say am in the process of reading all of her works. I cried twice reading it, and once you are finished you will know where. I wish the ending was a little longer, but it was a fantastic read.

Sep 14, 2020

This one should have been the award winner.
It's not a happy story but it is sooo well told.
You get a wonderful feeling for what life is like in Alaska and for the people who choose to live there. It is a book that succeeds on so many levels.
Highly recommend you read it.

Sep 07, 2020

Dragged out unnecessarily in the first three quarters of the story which for me, made the outcome a little rushed in comparison.

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Add a Quote
LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“All at once, it seemed, the leaves of cottonwood trees around the cabin turned golden and whispered to themselves, then curled into black flutes and floated to the ground in crispy, lacy heaps.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“And the books! She’d never seen so many. They whispered to her of unexplored worlds and unmet friends and she realized that she wasn’t alone in this new world. Her friends were here, spine out, waiting for her as they always had.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“You don’t stop loving a person when they’re hurt. You get stronger so they can lean on you.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“He taught her something new about friendship: it picked right back up where you’d left off, as if you hadn’t been apart at all.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“I think you stand by the people you love.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“It’s scary that people can just stop loving you, you know?”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“like all fairy tales, theirs was filled with thickets and dark places and broken dreams, and runaway girls.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“Alaska isn't about who you were when you headed this way. It's about who you become.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“... home was not just a cabin in a deep woods that overlooked a placid cove. Home was a state of mind, the peace that came from being who you were and living an honest life.”

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

“Love and fear. The most destructive forces on earth. Fear had turned her inside out, love had made her stupid.”

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Mar 20, 2019

This book is every bit as good as Nightingale. I got so involved with the characters that, at times, I had to put the book down because it made me so anxious and nervous about what was going to happen to them. I can't wait to read another of Kristin's books. 5 star rating from me!

Sep 11, 2018

This story of life in Alaska evolves around a family (the Allbrights') Ernst, his wife, and Leni, their Daughter who move up to Alaska after Ernst is left the property by a friend he knew during the Vietnam War. Ernst suffered from PTSD and creates havoc and fear whereever he goes. I was unable to put the book down; an excellent read and well recommended.


Add Notices
LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

Other: death of a parent, alcoholism, depression, ptsd

LCPL_Krystyna Oct 28, 2020

Violence: domestic abuse


Add Age Suitability
Mar 05, 2019

pmeadows2020 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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