The Alaskan Laundry is beautiful evocation of a place and a testament to the unshakable lure of home. It also offers an unforgettable story of one woman's journey from isolation back to the possibility of love.
"This is a truly towering debut novel. Brendan Jones charts new novelistic territory and sends back moving dispatches from the frontiers of the human heart." (Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master's Son)
"There are the easy journeys, the ones that take us where we mean to travel, and there are those we shy from, the dark and uncertain treks of the soul. Without flinching, nineteen-year-old Tara ventures from South Philly to the male-dominated "Rock," an island off the coast of Alaska. True to her boxer instincts, Tara comes out swinging, unsure what the island will make of her. As layers of her former life wash away, she proves as raw and tender as the landscape, as striking and unforgettable. A promising debut, true to the core - a novel of grit and redemption." (Deb Vanasse, author of Cold Spell and Out of the Wilderness)
"The Alaskan Laundry is a novel of bracing air that gets deep into your lungs. As Tara Marconi reinvents herself in Alaska, we see all facets of the American dream of self-reliance and boundless possibility play out on the stage of the Last Frontier. A strong, singular person grows in these pages. Like a protagonist in a Daniel Woodrell novel, she is stubborn, heroic, and capable of anything." (Will Chancellor, author of A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall)
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Coming of age in Alaska's fishing industry
Fascination with the fishing industry is what hooked me on this book.
Deeper character development for the protagonist and key characters. It takes a long time to learn why she's made the choices that led her to Alaska, but even then the answers aren't very satisfying. It's enjoyable, if light.
Without giving a spoiler alert, I'd say the end is crafted for a sequel.
To me, this reads like a YA coming of age story - and I read a fair amount of YA material. A decent debut novel, but I wouldn't rush to buy the author's next book.
- Irene F. Bond