The Great Alone

The Great Alone

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
When her volatile, former POW father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season. By the best-selling author of The Nightingale.

McMillan Palgrave

An instant #1 New York Times bestseller (February 2018)!

"A TOUR DE FORCE." —Kirkus (starred review)

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

& Taylor

When her father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780312577230
Branch Call Number: FIC Hanna
Characteristics: 440 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 16, 2018

What a fantastic read, I was engrossed for hours and hours enjoying the character development and the way the author wrote about the beauty and horror of the Alaskan way of life. The meek mother and the lunatic, possessive father was reminiscent of "The Mosquito Coast" by Paul Theroux, another great book. I enjoyed this one, and would recommend.

Jul 15, 2018

Listened to audio book. Stayed up until 3 a.m last night to finish, crying as I did!
Quietly builds to an I can't wait to find out what happens next story Of love and survival. Beautifully written, engaging character's, such clear imagery that I felt like I was there in Alaska. Inspired day dreaming about living a little more wild. Highly recommend.

EverythingTouches Jul 05, 2018

There is a lot in this story. I enjoyed the historical fiction, the semi-survivors guide to living in Alaska, and the psychological, roller coaster intensity of the relationship between the Cora and Ernt. The story slowly built upon itself, tantalizing me with more but never giving release. I ended up not being able to put it down.

ArapahoeLesley Jul 05, 2018

Gorgeous. Gorgeous and heartbreaking. I was enthralled by this book throughout the entire thing. I cried. I still can't believe it... I cried! Hannah weaves a complicated tale of family, strength, forgiveness, and survival in this story filled with such vivid characters and such a spectacular sense of place. Read wonderfully by Julia Whelan, I'm so glad I listened to it.

Jun 24, 2018

Not my usual, but took a chance. Some parts are very interesting, certainly about life in this rugged terrain & pioneering lifestyle. I felt the events described are accurate if the reader had no previous knowledge, otherwise I found it a bit boring & not especially memorable. That said, I realize I'm not capable of writing a book & this must appeal to a wide audience with varying tastes.

Jun 24, 2018

I really enjoyed this book until the last 50 or so pages. The ending seemed like a Harlequin romance novel. It was pretty disappointing and predictable.

Jun 18, 2018

A powerful novel of family and love. Kristin Hannah has outdone herself.

Jun 17, 2018

What a great read! Fantastic story of discovering yourself, young love and family

Jun 12, 2018

I found this book to be so real that you felt you really knew the characters.
Thank you Kristin Hannah for a great novel and a real game changer.

JenniferG_OshLib May 23, 2018

This book made me cry no less than three times. That rarely happens. It’s interesting, too, as there was a point I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue reading it. It’s possible the topic was a bit difficult for me in that it was realistic and not part of a thriller or murder mystery, where I might expect it. Ernt did frustrate me to no end, and I couldn’t figure out why his family put up with him for so long, but I realized they didn’t have much of a choice, and really, neither did he.

The writing is honest and straightforward, and the author truly makes you fall in love with the Alaska wilds. I loved Leni’s character and how strong and realistic she was. There was a scene at the end that almost changed my opinion as it was rather trite, but the moments prior to it were enough for me to let it go. Overall, this book surprised me, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed “All the Light We Cannot See” or “The Alice Network.”

View All Comments


Add a Quote

ArapahoeMaryA Mar 13, 2018

You know what they say about finding a man in Alaska—the odds are good, but the goods are odd.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at IPL

To Top