In 1974, Ernt Allbright, a returned Vietnam POW, inherits a homestead in Alaska from an Army buddy who died in the war. He has lost yet another job, and is suffering from what we now call PTSD. He packs up his family which consists of his delicate, beautiful wife, Cora, and their 13-year-old daughter, Leni, and drives their VW bus north to Alaska to start a new life.

In a remote corner of the state, they find a cabin with no electricity or running water, and a community of unforgettable characters, who pitch in to help them prepare for the dark, incomprehensibly difficult winter.

The story follows the Allbrights through their years in Alaska, their return to Seattle, through violence both man-made and natural. This is a compelling story, with believable characters, which I listened to as an audiobook. Highly recommended.