I was eager to read “Heroes of the frontier”, having enjoyed “The Circle”, however, be warned that Eggers latest page turner of a novel is black comedy at its most hysterical. As you empathise with Josie the protagonist, there were many moments in the novel when, at times, I couldn’t believe her recklessness and downright irresponsible behaviour.
Pushed to the edge by having lost her dental practice, due to the American habit of vexatious suing for medical compensation, and with her useless ex-‘husband’ having left her for another woman, whom he’s about to marry, Josie decides to escape, go off the grid. She just packs up and leaves, with her two primary school age children, heading to Alaska in a battered old camper van called, “The Chateau”.
Unfortunately, she’s heading north into a wilderness blazing with forest fires and all sorts of dangers that exist on the ‘wild frontier’. Josie is haunted by various demons; bad decisions she’s made, and people she feels she’s harmed. She drags her children from one place to another, narrowly avoiding disaster on numerous occasions. The beauty and majesty of the Alaskan scenery contrasts against the strange people and situations she encounters.
It’s a riveting read with an unsettling ending. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though be prepared for your face to screw up at some of the descriptions of toilet habits!
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