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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  20,061 ratings  ·  3,153 reviews
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, and sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.

But then somethi
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 16th 2017 by Chatto & Windus (first published January 3rd 2017)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  20,061 ratings  ·  3,153 reviews

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Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, us
I have been sitting in front of the screen for some time, staring hopelessly at the screen, hoping to find some inspiration on what to write in my review. I even find it difficult to decide on the rating for this debut novel. I am so conflicted about my feelings that I cannot even answer to a simple question: Did I like the book?

Maybe this confusion is due to the fact that I was expecting something else. The blurb states that during a family day-out in the woods “something imaginably shocking h
Elyse  Walters
$1.99 Kindle! If you’ve hesitated about this book - curious— $1.99 is less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
I think it’s worth reading! Soooo glad I didn’t miss it!

Oh my gosh... I don't think I've been this excited about a new author --LIKE THIS--
--- since 2014--- when I first read Robin Black's novel "Life Drawing".

Emily Ruskovich's debut novel "Idaho" has knocked me over!!! ( I almost skipped this one too - which would have been a huge mistake).
The writing is beautiful
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

When tragedy strikes on a mountain in Idaho in 1995, a family is forever changed.

I'm still having a hard time trying to figure out how I feel about this book. If I had to use only one word to describe how this book made me feel, I think the word would have to be confused.

But I could not stop reading.

The book begins in 2004. We meet Ann. Ann is married to Wade. She is his second wife. Wade's first wife, Jenny is in p
Diane S ☔
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Books are miraculous things. They touch each one of us in individual ways. As soon as I started reading, I was in awe of this authors obvious talent. A first book, seriously? With this beautiful prose, prose that is elegant, haunting and melancholic. Prose that shows us a beautiful landscape in sharp contrast to a shocking event. An event that will leave many reeling, reverberate through the years and touch many, even those not directly involved. it is Wade's story, a husband who loses his wife ...more
Larry H
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Idaho , Emily Ruskovich's stunningly written debut novel, has an almost dreamy, elegiacal feel to it. It's a book that is about so many different things—the redemptive power of love and friendship, the burdens of loss and secrets, finding the strength to forgive yourself, the fragility of the mind and memory, and how long to maintain hope in the face of great uncertainty. This is a book that is both sad and happy, with characters and situations which will stay in your mind and take up space i ...more
Angela M
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up.
I found this story to be very unnerving . It's tense and there's some mystery about it, usually not the kind of book I read. Yet there was something so mesmerizing about the story of this family tragedy and something so enticing about the pieces of the story that made me want to keep at it, to be able to grasp what happened and why. Having finished it, I'm not sure I have all the answers but I still think it's worth reading. The writing is stellar.

A tragedy occurs in 1997

4.5 Stars

“Meaning is like music; it catches and is carried. It returns. Refrains, phrases, the names of passing boats. Stuck in my head, it’s stuck in my head. The way stories fasten themselves to words, words fasten themselves to vulnerable rhythms, impressionable tunes.”

The quiet contemplation of what it means to be human, to love, to need forgiveness, to be worthy of that forgiveness and to give forgiveness, are at the heart of Idaho. While the prose is lovely, the story
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a truly beautiful story, with a poignant magnificence that sweeps across the widest spectrum of thoughts and feelings as reminders and remembrances of our humanity.

This book tells the story of Wade and Jenny and Ann; of May and June, of Eliot, of Ivy, of Elizabeth and others. Their stories intersect and interconnect on several levels across decades and, together and apart, they experience tragedies laced with simple sorrows and happiness sprinkled with fluted notes of joy.

The immers
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I guess this is one of the most difficult reviews for me to write …. At the beginning I was totally immersed by the tragic event, by the beauty of the place and by the complicated yet compelling relationships portrayed in this novel. The narration, the reminiscences – loved them absolutely. However, somewhere in the middle of the novel I began feeling like I was drifting away from the characters and from the story. And it was not the question that I wanted the answer to WHY such a horrendous act ...more
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With four and five star reviews pouring in for this, I am immediately reminded of my reaction to My Name Is Lucy Barton. Both books were purposefully constructed and beautifully written, rendering a landslide of emotions while leading the reader to some truly thought-provoking, yet unanswerable questions. I guess I'm learning that I am not a fan of that. While I don't require a tidy ending (I loved Inside the O'Briens, cliffhanger and all) and I am quite capable of drawing my own conclusions, Id ...more
Helene Jeppesen
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book took me by surprise! For some reason, I thought that it was going to be about an expedition to see birds. When I picked it up, however, I quickly realized that that’s not at all the case.
“Idaho” is the story of Jenny, her husband, his new wife, the children, as well as other people relevant to her story, and it’s a book that takes you back and forth in time and shifts constantly in perspectives.
Besides from the main plot which was very interesting and compelling, “Idaho” fascinated m
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
If you're going to read Idaho, be prepared for a slow non linear read. I'm a fast reader, but this one can't be read quickly. The language is rich and important. The perspectives shift and flit, and the story slowly comes together -- mostly -- a bit like a puzzle with a few missing pieces. At the core of Idaho, is an incomprehensible child murder in 1995. The story radiates out from the murder, told from the perspectives of the father, the mother, the child, the father's new wife and an odd asso ...more
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich is a 2017 by Chatto & Windus publication.

This book was pushed heavily by some book clubs and by readers on various book sites. I put it on hold at the library, but the wait time was very long. When a copy finally became available, I had forgotten what the book was about and what type of book it was supposed to be. This might have worked in my favor this time around as I had no preconceived expectations.

While it has been listed as a psychological mystery or a novel of s
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

There is an underlying tone of melancholy in this finely penned story. Broken souls, a yellow line, memories lost and memories found, only to be lost again. The love of nature and of music. The knowledge of how lives can be torn apart, and put together a different way. Forgiveness for something that cannot be forgiven.

Recommended for those who do not have to have every little raveling gathered up and double-knotted. Some questions will rema
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Idaho has some wonderful writing. It was a haunting novel filled with many different plots and time jumping, that somewhat confused me, and the story left me with some unanswered questions.
I really did enjoy the novel though and would encourage people to read it.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the ARC.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars

Idaho was an entirely new literary experience for me. In all the years I have been reading books, decade after decade of all sorts of different genres, a book has never made me so angry … at the author! Three days after finishing the book and re-reading the last six pages over and over and over again, trying to figure out what the heck I missed, I am still so terribly dissatisfied and angry, an anger born out of betrayal. Emily Ruskovich, why did you do this?

The first three hundred page
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I heard an in-depth examination of this book when I recorded with a guest on Episode 086 of the Reading Envy Podcast, and last year I feel like ever blogger, reviewer, and podcaster had glowing things to say about the book. I put it on the "reading envy" list for 2017, aka books I wish I'd read but didn't get to (full list here.) Then it was included in the short list for the Tournament of Books, so that moved it up in priority for my reading. In the discussion thread for the book, I've noticed ...more
Cathrine ☯️
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathrine ☯️ by: Diane Scholl's review
Shelves: favorites, net-galley
It’s not often a book haunts me in my sleep and makes me doubt my ability to write a worthy review. It presently sits on its own special shelf and is not comparable to anything else I’ve read lately.
This stunning debut requires that you read with focus, determination, and thoughtfulness. With shifting perspectives and alternating time periods you will need patience. It makes demands of you and will not offer up all the rewards you seek.

Ann is attempting to unravel the mystery of her husband Wa
Dan Schwent
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2018-books
One day while out chopping wood, Wade Mitchell's wife does something unspeakable, sending their lives off course forever. Years later, Wade has remarried and is slowly losing his memories to early onset dementia. Can his second wife, Ann, piece together what happened before Wade forgets himself?

I blazed through Idaho in a couple long sittings and as I sit here, I'm having trouble quantifying how I feel about it. I thought it was going to be a literary mystery but the killer was revealed very ear
Emily Ruskovich can turn a phrase and paint a picture and give you slow burning tension and hints of darkness, she's a great new writer and I'll be excited to see more from her down the line. But Idaho, her debut novel, did not work quite as well for me as it did for some of my Goodreads and real life friends, which was a bit disappointing for me as I went in expecting to love it. The way she constructs a sentence and brings a thought or description to the page is first rate, and there's so much ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received a galley copy of Idaho from NetGalley and the publisher.

There was much to like about this book, but also tremendous frustration with it. First, I looked at the chapter titles, which log the years going from 2004 to 2008 to 1985-1986, 1999, 1973, and at the end 2025, and I could not bring myself to even begin reading it, since I definitely do not enjoy timelines that jump around like this. But when I finally did start it, I was sort of mesmerized by the exquisite writing and drawn into
Marilyn C.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
4.5 Stars. Emily Ruskovich has written an exceptional debut with Idaho.

A shocking tragedy occurs in a small Idaho town that will have repercussions for decades within a family. Told in various points of view and time periods, this captivating, but sad story, deals with devastating loss, a wife's unbreakable commitment to her ailing husband, sadness and guilt over past deeds, and ultimately the process of moving on.

As you read this book you will be in awe that this is a debut. Ruskovich’s story
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2016-books
All the stars!

Few writers can entrance so completely -- creating works of art that are on a completely different plane than most others in the category. Emily Ruskovich belongs in this class. Other reviewers have described the prose in this book as "music" or "poetry," and I agree.

"Idaho" is a book that requires slow, deliberate reading (which is fine since you'll want to savor the writing). The plot centers around a family, a horrific crime, a man losing his memory to early-onset Alzheimer's, a
I read a lot of fiction so you'd imagine I'd be very comfortable with the facts of fiction. You'd imagine I'd be more than willing to suspend disbelief and always eager to get involved in the fictional scenarios of the books I read. My reading history, stretching to thousands of novels, seems to be proof of that. Yes, I love stories, I keep coming back for more and more of them, and I don't feel I'll stop reading stories any time soon.

But here's a story that failed to suspend my disbelief. Sect
Iris P

★★★ 3 Stars

I received a free advance e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!


Well, as I mentioned in previous comments, this was an extremely frustrating read for me. When giving low ratings I try to be mindful, particularly to debut authors, but I can't bring myself to give Idaho more than 3 stars. Truly the writing is lyrical, I would even say riveting, but the novel's non-linear struc
Peter Boyle
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
It's difficult to write this review without revealing too much. The whole plot hinges on one moment of madness, a senseless deed of unspeakable horror. We spend the rest of the novel trying to piece together the motives behind this brutal act, while observing its gut-wrenching effect on the family involved.

On a sweltering summer day in rural Idaho, Wade Mitchell, his wife Jenny, and their two daughters are out collecting wood. The work is tiring but the timber is valuable, so the parents soldier
This will come as a shocker, but I absolutely could not get on with this book. Perhaps I am too busy, reading it in splurges, whenever I have time available, or the story does not flow fast enough to keep me committed.

It's a dark, exhausting read. Powerful but stale at the same time.

So rather just leave it and not rate it. Perhaps I will reconsider it again. Right now, after three days of trying, I'm done. I tried - 50% in, I gave up.

Sorry about that. I need to move on.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
At page 100, I thought this would be a 3-star book. I didn't like the writing (it read too much for me like the author was VERY proud of getting an MFA) but I thought the plot would be interesting. By page 200, I was down to 2-stars. By page 250, I was at 1-star and feeling like the story had completely let me down.

Another reviewer put the issues with this book much better than I ever could. Essentially, for me, they were issues in execution. The structure was clunky and never resolved into som
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
IDAHO by Emily Ruskovich

"The sun is just beginning to rise. All the windows in the other houses are still dark. She feels that she's the only one awake for miles. Then, in the early light, out on the street, she sees the deer, and this time a fawn, too. It follows its mother slowly, tearing dandelions in the sidewalk cracks. Ann thinks of what Wade told her years ago, about fawns being invisible to the noses of predators. She watches the fawn walk, nibbling the grass, and she thinks: It leaves n
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Play Book Tag: Idaho - Emily Ruskovich 2.5/5 2 37 Jun 02, 2018 09:27PM  

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Emily Ruskovich grew up in the mountains of northern Idaho. She graduated from the University of Montana and received an MA in English from the University of New Brunswick and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was the 2011–2012 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She ...more

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