Legends of the North Cascades

Algonquin. Jun. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781643750101. $26.95.
This surprisingly engaging book from Evison (All About Lulu) focuses on two parallel story tracks. In the present, Dave is living in rural Whatcom County, WA, struggling to adjust after three tours of duty in Iraq and the resulting negative effects on his marriage and family. After his wife is killed in a traffic accident, Dave decides to head for the hills, taking with him his eight-year-old daughter Bella, and making a home for them in a cave in the Cascades. The narrative then branches into a separate story line, as dreamed by Bella, about a girl named St’ka who lives thousands of years in the past, during the Ice Age. Pregnant St’ka, with one male companion, leaves the main band of her people, to inhabit the very same cave Bella and Dave now live in. As Bella and Dave’s story winds its way to a logical conclusion, with visits from concerned relatives and child protective services, St’ka’s story evolves in tandem.
VERDICT This modern back-to-the-land story feels like John Krakauer’s Into the Wild meets Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear, a combination that makes for a compelling read in its appreciation of the monumental properties of nature and recognition of the history of humans in the North Cascades.
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