Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Heroes of the Frontier", the new novel by Dave Eggers

Almost everything Eggers' writes is read here.  It seems that each book that he chooses to write is unique.  There is a different pulse and intent to each one.  The stories and characters tend to be a different challenge to understand.

"Heroes of the Frontier" is the tale of a youngish middle aged woman, a dentist with two young children from Ohio, who abandons the tedium, or some might say regularity, of her middle class life as too many issues overwhelm her.  She tells no one and flies to Alaska with her children, rents an antiquated RV, and after a quick visit to see an unrelated "sister" in Homer, drives on with no direction known.  The novel tracks her adventures, missteps, and neurotic planning, all following little purpose other than getting away, disappearing.

Her relationship with her 8 year old son and 5 year old daughter are central to the story, and to her life.  This relationship is well handled, the dialogue is stellar, but as the story builds it becomes an increasingly tense plot for this little and carelessly adventurous family.  In fact, here the book became almost exhausting to read as it developed to a close.

If this is meant by Eggers to be analogous to life in general, it is to some extent a grim view.  Yet, the book does not end with defeat, and there is humor throughout, wry though it may be.  Instead it suggests a continuation similar to the saying "life goes on".

Having been in a slump of not finishing books lately, for some reason one excellent one and two where the verdict is still out, it was a relief to pick up a book that was compelling enough for a straight through read over several days.

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