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Christine Pakkala

Author Christine Pakkala Discovers a Different Home in Emily Ruskovich’s ‘Idaho’

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The Idaho where I grew up is a very different place than the one Emily Ruskovich describes in her lyrical and thrilling novel, Idaho. My Idaho was a place of drive-ins and pulp mill pollution, long stretches of empty highway, and crowded pews in church. Hers is a romantic place, a majestic land where its inhabitants know the name of flowers and weeds. They know how to live both on and from the land. Like the white nationalists who hunkered down on Ruby Ridge, Ruskovich’s main characters sequester themselves on a north Idaho mountaintop, dangerously isolated in winter, paradisically alone in summer. In Ruskovich’s Idaho, isolation provides an opportunity for a crime so shocking and unfathomable, it burns at the…

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