Idaho

A Novel
Narrated by: Justine Eyre
Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (446 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Los Angeles Times best seller

A stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness, about the violence of memory and the equal violence of its loss - from O. Henry Prize-winning author Emily Ruskovich. 

Winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award

Winner of the Dublin Literary Award

Named One of the Best Books of The Year by Buzzfeed

Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in Northern Idaho, where they are bound together by more than love. With her husband's memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade's first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. In a story written in exquisite prose and told from multiple perspectives - including Ann, Wade, and Jenny, now in prison - we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny's lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character in Idaho

In a wild emotional and physical landscape, Wade's past becomes the center of Ann's imagination, as Ann becomes determined to understand the family she never knew - and to take responsibility for them, reassembling their lives - and her own.

Finalist for:  

  • International Dylan Thomas Prize  
  • Edgar First Novel Award  
  • Young Lions Fiction Award

“You know you’re in masterly hands here. [Emily] Ruskovich’s language is itself a consolation, as she subtly posits the troubling thought that only decency can save us.... Ruskovich’s novel will remind many readers of the great Idaho novel, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.... [A] wrenching and beautiful book.” (The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice)

“Sensuous, exquisitely crafted.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“The first thing you should know about Idaho, the shatteringly original debut by O. Henry Prize winner Emily Ruskovich, is that it upturns everything you think you know about story.... You could read Idaho just for the sheer beauty of the prose, the expert way Ruskovich makes everything strange and yet absolutely familiar.” (San Francisco Chronicle

“Mesmerizing...[an] eerie story about what the heart is capable of fathoming and what the hand is capable of executing.” (Marie Claire

Idaho is a wonderful debut. Ruskovich knows how to build a page-turner from the opening paragraph.” (Ft.Worth Star-Telegram

©2017 Emily Ruskovich (P)2017 Random House Audio

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What listeners say about Idaho

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars

suggested, yes

The blurb sold me. After I'd listened to a big part of this book, I was deeply involved with Ann, Wade, Ginny and the small mountain acreage. The crime shown itself and vanished, leaving before my questions were answered. Glimpses of it reappeared through out. We traveled back and forth for decades, the crime tantalizing but always leading me to read more... and I think it was never fully explained. But I did doze off while listening. And now I am going to listen to it again, or get the book. More literary pleasure than crime novel it is not for readers who like action and thrills. I loved it.

16 people found this helpful

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Very frustrating to listen to.

Story jumps around too much, too many unanswered questions-what happened to the first wife and kids? If you like listening to poetry, you may like this book. This book has about 8 and a half hours of poetic speech about nothing in particular with very little story. I listened to the whole thing thinking there would be an ending worth the time but it was very disappointing. Waste of time

5 people found this helpful

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Exquisitely beautiful writing--but quite sad

I love the writing of Emily Ruskovich--it is poetic, haunting, beautiful. And the narration of Justine Eyre is equally lovely. It fits the story perfectly. However, I find the subject matter of the story unbearably difficult to listen to.

16 people found this helpful

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Sounds like my son telling me his dream . . . .

I’m sorry. I know this has won awards and as a native Idahoan, I should have liked it more. But I really didn’t. I thought it was downright terrible.
1. Yes, the author is skilled in descriptive writing. There are parts that are truly mesmerizing, but then there are parts (way too many of them!) where I’m screaming: Get on with it!

2. The premise of the book (spoilers): woman marries man after his first wife kills their daughter. However, woman (Ann) is a school music teacher that fell in love with a student and meets the man (Wade) after catching his daughter leaving a knife in the locker of the student she’s in love with. When called in to explain the knife, Wade falls for Ann and begins piano lessons. Wade sings one of the songs from the lesson absentmindedly while on a break from chopping wood with his wife. Daughter hears the song, begins singing it herself in the back of the truck, mom takes her out with a hatchet. Older daughter runs away. No- she’s never found.

3. The novel seems to be on the edge of becoming a story, but is more like when my son tries to tell me his dream. Starting on one storyline, then remembering background information. Resuming story, but bouncing ahead when it’s too slow.

4. I did appreciate the struggle of living with someone with dementia. How it would be incredibly sad to see them slipping away. The book would have been better with more if Wade’s struggle and less of Ann’s and her creepily sending books to the prison library where Jenny (wife) is held.

5. Audible: the whispy, breathy speech of the reader was too much! In fact, there was a particular part where she said “running & tripping” and it sounded so much the way Forrest Gump said “running” that I started laughing! From that point on, the name Jenny was in his voice for me.

All in all- I kept reading because I was sure there was about to be a story. But alas, ending with Jenny smiling at Ann after 30+ years in prison- I didn’t get it.

4 people found this helpful

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This book is a trip into frailty and strength

I enjoyed the listening of this book so much that I finished it in three sittings. Sometimes it left me wondering who was the disturbed person and who was the most normal. That is frequently the way it is when people are intertwined around a tragic happening. Everyone is affected, and deals with it in the best way they can. It gets very complicated. The author seems to have a grasp on the complexity of being human.

4 people found this helpful

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Couldn't get through it

Written so well, the imagery was wonderful. that's where the good part ends. The narrator is tough to take, her voice is grating and she makes some characters sound like they have mental disorders. I was so distracted by her voice I couldn't get through the book. By reading the reviews, I think I would have been disappointed anyway. As far as I got, nothing was making sense. Got three quarters of the way through, couldn't take it anymore.

13 people found this helpful

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Great Debut Novel

This book was a pleasant surprise! I enjoyed the way author was telling the story from different points of view and time frames.

2 people found this helpful

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wow that was an amazing experience

Justine Eyre is an outstanding narrator and Emily Ruskovich is an excellent author. Thank you for recommending this book on goodreads.

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator annoyed the heck out of me

The story was okay, not riveting for me, but, to be fair, the narrator was so whiny I could not pay close attention to the story.
Her voice made every character sound like a sad-sack. Her male voices were particularly annoying. Listen to the sample before you purchase. Maybe it will not bother you, but I won't be listening to Justine again. Sorry old girl!

5 people found this helpful

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  • LW
  • 01-11-17

Thoroughly depressing.

A child-murdering mother and a father with early onset dementia provide the case study from the narrator's POV.
The audible narrator tries way to hard, infusing every sentence with unnecessary angst - this story would have worked so much better without the heavy dramatic speaking style.
This story is fairly hopeless and its tragedies remain unresolved. Not very fulfilling if you're a reader looking for answers and at least one redeeming characters.

9 people found this helpful