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Publisher's Summary

The #1 New York Times Best Seller

The newest audiobook sensation from Kristin Hannah, best-selling author of The Nightingale 

This program is read by acclaimed narrator Julia Whelan, whose enchanting voice brought Gone Girl and Fates and Furies to life. Kristin Hannah reads the acknowledgments.

Alaska, 1974.

Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.

For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival. 

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America's last true frontier. 

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents' passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. 

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights' lack of preparation and dwindling resources. 

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt's fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in 18 hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: They are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. 

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska - a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night audiobook about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature. 

©2017 Kristin Hannah (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Reliably alluring...The Great Alone is packed with rapturous descriptions of Alaskan scenery… Hannah remembers and summons an undeveloped wilderness, describing a gloriously pristine region in the days before cruise ships discovered it." (The New York Times Daily Review)

"Kristin Hannah's new novel makes Alaska sound equally gorgeous and treacherous — a glistening realm that lures folks into the wild and then kills them there." (The Washington Post)

"Listeners, beware: You won't want to stop listening to narrator Julia Whelan's performance of this complex story of survival and family...With pitch-perfect timing and a touch of drama, Whelan exquisitely builds the tension, creating an enveloping atmosphere of foreboding that's difficult to turn away from...a don't miss audiobook experience." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15,110
  • 4 Stars
    3,869
  • 3 Stars
    1,027
  • 2 Stars
    264
  • 1 Stars
    121

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14,853
  • 4 Stars
    2,945
  • 3 Stars
    621
  • 2 Stars
    125
  • 1 Stars
    58

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13,467
  • 4 Stars
    3,488
  • 3 Stars
    1,113
  • 2 Stars
    308
  • 1 Stars
    141
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A Long, Hard Slog Through Endless Despair and Heartache

I really wanted to like this book. The writing was excellent, technically. But it was just ONE BAD THING AFTER ANOTHER for these characters. There was NO LETTING UP, no comic relief to break the tension, no happy moments in between all the horror and terror and death and despair.

I don't usually write reviews. But I had to warn people. I also don't usually read contemporary adult fiction. So maybe it's all like this; I don't know. However, if it is, I have no further desire to read any. B I'm going to compare this book briefly with another book that had a lot of heartache and despair, "Birds Without Wings" by Louis Something I Can't Remember. He also wrote "Corelli's Mandoline". Another book with heartache. But somehow, these books had redeeming features and humor and characters you could like and root for.

In "The Great Alone", it's like watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion...you know every little thing that is going to happen WAY before it actually happens, but you're powerless to stop it and somehow you can't look away. I guess I was hoping the author WOULD have a little more imagination, and maybe NOT take the most expected path to every tragic conclusion, but -SPOILER ALERT- she doesn't, and she does. You pretty much listen for a few chapters and you know EXACTLY what's going to happen to almost everyone. By the middle of the book, I could have written the epilogue and been 99% correct, even down to minute details.

The author clearly knows and loves Alaska well, and it shows. Having lived there myself, I can attest to the authenticity of the descriptions and vocabulary. But I just couldn't handle the endless grief with no break. And the unbearably heavy-handed foreshadowing that pretty much gave away the entire plot.

I'm sure professional critics will love this book. It's well written and very depressing, and since that what they seem to go for in adult fiction, the author has a winning combination. I don't think I'll get another one by her, though.

The narrator does a STELLAR job. She's probably the reason I kept listening long after I knew everything would play out the way it did, and she's the reason my review gave as many stars as it did. I would get another book read by this narrator in a NEW YORK MINUTE, which is WAY faster than an Alaska minute, or so I'm told.

77 of 84 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting!

I have never read anything by this author before; the review sounded interesting, but what drew me was the narrator. I love Julia Whelan! I have mixed feelings about the story. The author captured my attention with her descriptions of Alaska, and what it would be like to move there. Since I work in the field of Domestic Violence, it was hard to listen to this story at times. Thankfully, we have come a long way in helping victims/survivors of DV. Once I started listening to The Great Alone, I was hooked. I wanted to listen straight through. It’s been a long time since I stayed up half the night, consumed by a book! I shall be reading more by Kristin Hannah, I’m sure. What a story!

194 of 214 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Such a talented author and narrator...

I recently read The Nightingale... and loved it to pieces. So I bumped this book by the same author to the top of my list when it came out. The books are so different, only the beautiful writing feels familiar. Kristin Hannah took me right into this family, their move and the new community in rural Alaska they joined.
I could see the train wreck coming for hours but couldn't look away and couldn't stop listening until the book was over... have to admit I cried. This won't have the universal appeal that The Nightingale had, my husband wouldn't listen to such a relationship oriented book and domestic violence is just a plain old hard topic. However, I found it's message of the power of community, friendship, family and the resilience of the human spirit to be uplifting. Made me wish I was Alaska tough... like the characters I met in this book.

200 of 224 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cyndi
  • Beautiful Michigan
  • 09-12-18

✫✫✫✫✫ 5 Stars ✫✫✫✫✫

I don't even know where to begin to explain how much I loved this book or how it left me emotionally. This book is hard because it deals with PTSD and domestic violence but it is so much more. It is about a mother/daughter relationship, it is about unconditional love and it is about learning to adapt and for me especially this book is about true love even if this isn't a romance.

Set in Alaska in the 1970's, we get a true feeling of what it was like to live "off the grid" and of the land but still have community and family. It also gives us a feel for what it must have been like for Vietnam survivors with PTSD in a world where PTSD didn't exist yet. This is a story about a family with a dad with PTSD, a mom who loves her husband and remembers what he was like before the war and a young daughter caught up in a life that was anything she could have expected. Leni (the daughter) is the protagonist of this story, she goes from 13 to about 25 over the course of this book and we get to she her blossom and harden from life in Alaska. She finds true love and she has a dream and then its all ripped away. Seeing how she grows and makes the best with the life she has and the beautiful undying strength of the relationship she has with her mother melted my heart. Without giving actual spoilers, I'll just say this book made me mad, broke my heart, had me cheering like a cheerleader, made me proud and melted my heart. Every emotion I could have in a book.... they were all there in this one book. I highly recommend it!

The narration was superb! Julia Whelan completely brought this book to life, she gave each character their own voice and let me get lost in the story. PERFECT casting choice in my opinion!

#BestBook2018 #ChangedMyLife #AlaskaLife #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 02-18-18

Kristin Hannah creates worlds with words.

I literally couldn't stop listening to this one. Yes, some of the subject matter is brutal -- but it's the life some people live. Without books, I truly wouldn't know what those lives are like.

I thought I knew where she was going with the storyline. I was wrong. When I gave up trying to predict and just inhabited the world she created, I was truly captivated. I'm not sure I've ever really experienced the sights and smells of Alaska with this kind of clarity. It's a love song to wilderness and survival. And it's an incredibly insightful look at all the permutations of "family."

Brava! Perfect combination of author and narrator. One of the best of the year.

46 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great narrator captures the expanse of Alaska

My impatience with the heroine 's mother almost made me stop reading. But heariing about homesteading in Alaska made it worthwhile. Great development of supporting characters brought it all to life

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite by this author

Would you try another book from Kristin Hannah and/or Julia Whelan?

I have read and enjoyed every other book by Kristin Hannah, and this is not up to par. I did think the narrator was excellent.

Would you be willing to try another book from Kristin Hannah? Why or why not?

Yes, I will look forward to her next project.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

It would take a couple of hours to sit through the movie. The book goes on and on and on.

Any additional comments?

The characters were all written sympathetically and I'm sure it gave an unvarnished truth about domestic abuse, but that was part of the problem. I found myself continually frustrated by the refusal of the abused wife and mother to do anything to help herself or her daughter. The frustration turned to fury about half way through, and still the story kept on and on, repeating and repeating. It engaged me to the point where I kept listening because I cared about the characters, but it was exhausting.

56 of 66 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Grim and depressing

This book was as dark, depressing, and never ending as an Alaskan winter. There were some good characters, but at crucial junctures they behaved in In ways That were unbelievable. I kept waiting for Something good to happen, but the book just plodded on through one sad turn after another. The author tries so hard to show the harsh realities of life in Alaska, That there is little to celebrate or feel good about. Upon finishing this book, I was simply glad it was over so I can find something uplifting to read. It was a downer.

87 of 105 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping without letup

A perfectly written book. It lured me into the story and then kept astounding me with twists and turns. I was wishing for a tidy happy resolution but instead got something much deeper, a story of what love is.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Loved The Nightengale and had high expectations. Unfortunately, this was too long, too depressing and often predictable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful