Also of interest…
In wide open spaces
The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s, $29)
A 13-year-old must navigate unfamiliar territory in Kristin Hannah’s best-seller, a “compelling saga of domestic violence, determination, and destiny,” said Kim Ode in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In 1974, Leni Allbright’s family leaves Seattle for Alaska because her father, a Vietnam War vet with PTSD, wants to live off the grid. But remote Alaska, which has an “almost human presence” in the book, exacerbates the family’s dysfunction, and Leni can do only so much to overcome those challenges.
A Wilder Time
by William E. Glassley (Bellevue Literary Press, $18)
William Glassley’s “brief but ambitious” memoir tries to marry art and analysis, said Ted Nield in Nature. Officially, the geologist ventured to western Greenland to study some of the oldest rocks in existence. But he also found time to soak in the island’s icy grandeur. Though his accounts of those two pursuits don’t always mesh, Glassley “eloquently evokes a place where land feathers into Arctic sea, ice floes glide by on mirror-smooth tongues of clear frigid water, and silence reigns.”
The Kings of Big Spring
by Bryan Mealer (Flatiron, $28)
To call this book a sprawling family saga is “something of an understatement,” said Don Graham in The Dallas Morning News. Journalist Bryan Mealer descends from a line of strivers who’ve tried to eke out a living in the vast Texas plains since the 1890s. Buffeted by boll weevils, dust storms, and often their own vices, the Mealers persevered, though their brief brush with oil wealth wouldn’t last. Stuffed with colorful characters, “the whole book is a roller coaster of hope and disaster.”
Only Killers and Thieves
by Paul Howarth (Harper, $27)
Paul Howarth’s debut is set in 1880s Australia, but its prose seems to come “direct from Cormac McCarthy’s dusty Southwest,” said Mark Athitakis in The Washington Post. A 14-year-old’s coming of age unfolds on parched land where his parents have been murdered, the killer is running loose, and settlers are brutalizing Aborigines. Howarth describes frontier violence with “a discomfiting giddiness.” Still, he is “skilled at taking old forms of the Western” and repurposing them for today’s readers.