Gina Williams's Reviews > West of Here

West of Here by Jonathan Evison
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Feb 23, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read from February 15 to 23, 2011

This is a fictional history of a town known as Port Bonita located near the Elwha River that runs through the Olympic National Forest. Where the Elwha Dam provides a link between its founders, the builders of the dam, and its descendents who find themselves at odds with the idea of the dam's removal after a century of elapsed time. There is also the myth of Sasquatch throughout, even if I had to suspend belief in some instances. I could have done without the thought of traveling through other folk's experiences, and other worlds in an out of body encounter, but it only detracted a little.

Evison's characters in this small community are currently mired in the rut of comfortable boundaries and almost lend themselves to a depressive state of rehashed daily grind. The founders come to life off the pages with dreams and plans for their futures and we watch them step forward to attain those dreams even while dealing with diversity.

The jump to modern day was jolting in seeing so much complacency and lack of direction. People wanting to break out of the rut they're stuck in and not sure how to go about it, and afraid to take that first step forward into the unknown until circumstances force them to take a closer look at themselves and their situation. Change. The one thing we will resist with herculean effort and which I found to be the most important theme for myself and the author states it best with this quote: 'sometimes you gotta leave a part of yourself behind in order to move on'.

Evison's writing is rich with descriptions that paint a picture and will put the reader in the middle of a snowstorm with few supplies in a struggle to survive, or feeling the strength of rushing waters below a dam.
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02/22/2011 page 201

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