Advance copies of Jonathan Evison’s new novel, West of Here, started landing on doorsteps this week.
The description will make you want to read it:
Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington State’s rugged Pacific coast, West of Here is propelled by a story that both re-creates and celebrates the American experience—it is storytelling on the grandest scale. With one segment of the narrative focused on the town’s founders circa 1890 and another showing the lives of their descendants in 2006, the novel develops as a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.
An exposition on the effects of time, on how something said or done in one generation keeps echoing through all the years that follow, and how mistakes keep happening and people keep on trying to be strong and brave and, most important, just and right, West of Here harks back to the work of such masters of Americana as Bret Harte, Edna Ferber, and Larry McMurtry, writers whose fiction turned history into myth and myth into a nation’s shared experience. It is a bold novel by a writer destined to become a major force in American literature.
Delicious, no? Well, check this out:
Apparently, Evison’s publisher, Algonquin, loves this book enough to give the advance copies packaging that is, simply, too cool for school. A couple of boxes, postcards, maps, a letter from the book’s editor and — oh, yeah — the book itself.
My friend Jim Thomsen, the lucky recipient of one of these packages, forwarded me some photos. Check it:
Isn’t that just the coolest damn thing ever?
In a few weeks, I’ll be sending out some review copies of my next novel — and I’m suddenly, surprisingly, sad to say that they’ll go out in plain padded envelopes. Maybe I’ll stick some Necco wafers in there, just to amp up my game a little.
Visit Jonathan’s website here. And better yet, buy his book. I have a feeling it’s going to be big.