Evison’s epic novel received a boatload of accolades last year: Hudson Booksellers’ Book of the Year; winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Association award; a Bookpage Top 50 of 2011; an Amazon Top 100 of 2011; and a Booklist Editor’s Choice Award. It was also a #1 Indie Next Pick in hardcover.
And, of course, the reviews were outstanding:
“Riotously funny… wonderfully charming.” — New York Times Book Review
“[A] booming, bighearted epic.” — Vanity Fair
“[A] voracious story… Evison sets up evocative parallels between the characters in two time frames that demonstrate the poignant diminution of the American spirit… All these play out in Evison’s brisk, often comic, always deeply sympathetic narrative.” — Washington Post
“Big and unforgettable… West of Here is a sprawling tragicomic novel about identity—national and personal—that’s as entertaining as it is insightful.” — Miami Herald
“An enjoyable, meaty read–a vision of place told through the people who find themselves at the edge of America’s idea of itself.” — Los Angeles Times
See below for a brief video documentary of Evison. And here’s more about the book:
An exciting, innovative, and daring novel about history and how it happens, West of Here is an epic story of the spirit that inspired those dreamers and opportunists who settled the American Northwest, and of how their deeds—for better and for worse—forever altered the lives of those who came after them.
Set in the mythical town of Port Bonita, on Washington State’s Pacific coast, West of Here is propelled by a story that both re-creates and celebrates the American experience—it is storytelling on the grandest scale. With one segment of the narrative focused on the town’s founders circa 1890 and another showing the lives of their descendants in 2006, the novel develops as a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past. An exposition on the effects of time, on how something said or done in one generation keeps echoing through all the years that follow, it is a work of fiction that turns history into myth and myth into a nation’s shared experience.