West of Here

West of Here

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
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At the foot of the Elwha River, the muddy outpost of Port Bonita is about to boom, fueled by a ragtag band of dizzyingly disparate men and women unified only in their visions of a more prosperous future. A failed accountant by the name of Ethan Thornburgh has just arrived in Port Bonita to reclaim the woman he loves and start a family. Ethan's obsession with a brighter future impels the damming of the mighty Elwha to harness its power and put Port Bonita on the map.

More than a century later, his great-great grandson, a middle manager at a failing fish- packing plant, is destined to oversee the undoing of that vision, as the great Thornburgh dam is marked for demolition, having blocked the very lifeline that could have sustained the town. West of Here is a grand and playful odyssey, a multilayered saga of destiny and greed, adventure and passion, that chronicles the life of one small town, turning America's history into myth, and myth into a nation's shared experience.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011
ISBN: 9781565129528
Branch Call Number: EVISO
Characteristics: 486 p

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j
jenoteacher
Aug 14, 2014

I used to live outside of Port Angeles, and worked on the Elwha prior to the dam removal, so I was interested in the background and setting. The historical plot line seemed well researched and wove together interestingly with the modern story. Ultimately though, I just couldn't get past the overwrought style and cartoonish characters. I felt like I was reading Young Adult fiction, and was never able to be fully carried away. It has so many story elements I love: PNW history, a dash of the supernatural, overland adventure. I wanted to like it, but it was just too corny for my taste.

ChristchurchLib Jul 15, 2013

"Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, Washington, this novel is composed of chapters that alternate between the present day and the 1890s. The inhabitants of Port Bonita at the end of the 1800s have lofty goals - building a dam, exploring the interior - whereas the current inhabitants would settle for a date or a case of beer. Like the entrepreneurial spirit of the town's founders, the dam itself is under threat as residents want to destroy it to bring back fish runs. With a big cast of well-realised characters, heady themes of discovering, taming, and rediscovering nature, and a strong sense of place, this novel will appeal to a wide range of readers, from those who love the Pacific Northwest to those interested in historical fiction." July 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=655619

m
marmoore
Aug 21, 2012

I was more fascinated by the frontier days portion of the story than by the modern days parts.

rlbecker May 11, 2011

Epic, sweeping, historical and modern, gritty and mystical. These are words that describe this tale of events over 100 years ago and more recently. This tells the story of Port Bonita in western Washington State. Many of the chapters tell about the city's founding fathers and mothers, including entrepreneurs, native peoples and people just pushing progress in the form of a dam on the nearby river. Other chapters discuss people trying to make it in the modern city working menial jobs etc. Many of the founding families are still present in the modern stories. There is a psychic connection between members of a native american family from the past and present. This is a well-written story that is gripping to readers wanting a good story filled with adventure and character development. You meet many types of people on these pages, both good people and bad and those in-between.

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