Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

A complimentary advanced reader copy of this book was provided by Random House in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!) My review was in no way influenced by this consideration.

It’s not every day you find a literary novel named after your home state. Far less often, it sounds like something you’re interested in reading.

Idaho is ostensibly a mystery, a story of a murder whose details unfold slowly, keeping us guessing and wondering throughout the book. But at its heart, Idaho is a deep psychological excavation of friendship, grief, illness, and connection. Ruskovich is an O. Henry prize-winning author, and her deftness subtly gleams through in the carefully wrought prose. Her writing is lyrical, her characters thoughtfully crafted and unusually complex. Though the subject matter seems dark, the overall tone of the book is curious, pensive. And I suppose that’s the feeling I came away with, in the end: one of deep contemplation about people and their motivations. And I liked that.

Favorite quote: He has lost his daughters, but he has also lost the memory of losing them. But he has not lost the loss.


4.5 Stars

About Emily Ruskovich

Emily Ruskovich grew up in the mountains of northern Idaho. She graduated from the University of Montana and received an MA in English from the University of New Brunswick and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was the 2011–2012 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She was a 2015 winner of the O. Henry Award for her story “Owl.”

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