One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time. But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction. In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.
"One of the best books I've read this year... Emily Ruskovich's writing is remarkably beautiful; the descriptions of the mountain and the forest are breathtaking. And the fact that she doesn't provide clear answers, that everything is a little hazy, makes it exactly the kind of book I enjoy... The characters are complex and real, their motivations always understated... It is a wonderful book and I'll be recommending it to anyone who will listen" -- Claire Fuller, author of Our Endless Numbered Days "In Emily Ruskovich's wizardly vision, Idaho is both a place and an emotional dimension. Haunted, haunting, her novel winds through time, braiding events and their consequences in the most unexpected and moving ways" -- Andrea Barrett "Emily Ruskovich has written a poem in prose, a beautiful and intricate homage to place, and a celebration of the defeats and triumphs of love. Beautifully crafted, emotionally evocative, and psychologically astute, Idaho is one of the best books I have read in a long time" -- Chinelo Okparanta "A novel written like music... a chorus of rich and beautiful voices woven deep in the Idaho woods, each trying to come to their own understanding of a terrible tragedy" -- Hannah Tinti "Idaho begins with a rusted truck and ends up places you couldn't imagine. Its language is an enchantment, its vision brutal and sublime" -- Leslie Jamison
Emily Ruskovich grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, on Hoodoo mountain. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story and The Virginia Quarterly Review. A winner of a 2015 O. Henry Award and a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, she now teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado Denver. Idaho is her first novel.