Greetings, TNB readers and Book Club members!

This month’s TNB Book Club selection is Jonathan Evison’s West of Here.



According to the West of Here website, Evison’s book is “set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington State’s rugged Pacific coast. West of Here is propelled by a story that both re-creates and celebrates the American experience—it is storytelling on the grandest scale. With one segment of the narrative focused on the town’s founders circa 1890, and another showing the lives of their descendants in 2006, the novel develops as a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.”

The reviews for West of Here have been resoundingly positive. The San Francisco Chronicle, for instance, says, “Evison, a tremendously gifted storyteller, has staked claim to a wondrous frontier he can proudly call his own.”

The Denver Post declares, “… this is a novel that a reader can settle into, a work that is, most of all, a darned good story.”

The Miami Herald says that “…what makes [West of Here] big and unforgettable is Evison’s wide-raging imagination and gifted storytelling.”

And the Portland Oregonian states, “Reading West of Here, you feel as at home among the mountain men, prostitutes and crusaders of the 19th-century mudscape as among the parolees, bartenders and former high-school basketball stars of the 21st.”

And you?

What do you think of West of Here?

There are a lot of characters to keep up with (15? 20?) Have you found it easy to keep track, as many of the book reviewers were delighted to find? Do you have a favorite character?  Are you finding “new insight into how we as a nation have been shaped and formed?” What about the two time periods? Do you prefer one to the other?

Other thoughts?

Please, join the discussion below! Share what you love (or are frustrated by), what’s making you think (or feel confused), or any other thoughts you might have about our February Book Club Selection.

Also, be looking for an update about our online Book Club Chat, which should be coming to your email inbox soon!

For those in the Pacific Northwest, Jonathan Evison will be reading from West of Here at 7:30 PM, Monday, February 21, 2011 at Powell’s Books. Try to stop by and hear him read!

Not a member of the TNB Book Club? Follow this link to sign up. For the unbelievable price of $9.99 a month, Book Club members will receive a new book each month, along with an exclusive monthly e-mail newsletter with info, updates, and instructions on how to attend the book club meetings online. Attending the meetings will be as simple as clicking a link and logging in to the meeting page at a predetermined date and time, with a username and password provided by TNB.  Fun!

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THE TNB BOOK CLUB is the official book club of The Nervous Breakdown. For only $9.99 per month, members receive a new book in the mail each month, hand-picked by TNB editors. All book club authors will be featured on Other People with Brad Listi, a popular author interview podcast hosted by TNB's founding editor. To sign up for the club, please visit the Book Club page.

16 responses to “West of Here, by Jonathan Evison – Open Discussion Thread”

  1. Art Edwards says:

    I’m taking my time with this book. Jonathan is dumping his guts into it, and I want to give it the attention it deserves. I doubt I’ll be done by the time the next book club selection comes, but I’m sticking with this baby.

    • Gloria says:

      I’m taking my time with it as well. It’s big and it covers a lot of ground. I’m really enjoying it, though.

      The boys and I will be at Powell’s on Monday. You?

  2. jonathan evison says:

    . . . ahoy, TNBers! . . . i’m very much looking forward to this discussion! . . .

    • Gloria says:

      So nice meeting you tonight. I swear that by the time the book club discussion happens, I’ll make sense of Indigo’s Lewis and Clark question for you!

  3. Amazing, amazing book. I’d like to know if you could talk about the process of writing a book with so many characters (and you did a magnificent job juggling all of them.) Also, how does it feel to be famous now? Does it impact your writing in any way? And what’s your secret vice as far as writing?

  4. jonathan evison says:

    . . . caroline, my fifteen minutes is almost up, then i can get back to work, which will be somewhat of a relief, actually . . .

    . . . writing a novel with four dozen characters and 40 limited points of view was a big fat pain in the ass . . . especially when you add a bifurcated timeline . . . talk about continuity issues! . . . after about two years, though, i finally felt like i had a firm grasp of the reigns, and i could see the playing field better than ever before . . . in fact, i added an entirely new character after the book was finished, and so far, nobody has been able to guess who it is . . .

  5. […] The Nervous Breakdown thenervousbreakdown.com/tnbbookclub/2011/02/west-of-here-by-jonathan-evison-open-discussion-thread/ – view page – cached The TNB Book Club opens up discussion on WEST OF HERE, the new novel by Jonathan Evison., The TNB Book Club opens up discussion on WEST OF HERE, the new novel by Jonathan Evison. Show influential only (2) $(‘#filter-infonly’).change(function() { var el = $(this); var url = document.location.href; var checked = el.attr(‘checked’); if (checked) { document.location.href = url + ((/?/.test(url)) ? ‘&’ : ‘?’) + ‘infonly=1’; } else { document.location.href = url.replace(/[?&]?infonly=1/,”); } }); […]

  6. Art Edwards says:

    Johnny played to a full house tonight at Powell’s. People, if you get the chance to see Jonathan on his 25-city tour, you should come out and support him. He’ll be glad you did, and you’ll get to meet other TNBers.

    Bigfoot rules!


  7. Quenby Moone says:

    JEEBUS! You people need to rain hellfire on my head when things like this happen so that I can show up and pretend I still get out once in a while.

    So glad to hear that it was packed tonight. Well deserved, Mr. Evison! Bravo!

  8. jonathan evison says:

    . . . great meeting you in the flesh, art and gloria! . . .gloria, your kids are amazing, seriously! what a pair!

    • Gloria says:

      Thanks, Jonathan. It was great seeing you with them. You’re the rare breed of human that speaks genius, willful, high-energy, vociferous nine-year-old boy. You will henceforth be known as The Tolkien and Indigo Whisperer.

  9. Dana says:

    D’oh! I’m so behind. I can’t believe we’re discussing this already.
    I’ll catch up eventually. Tax season sucks.

  10. jonathan evison says:

    . . .t-minus 45 minutes–i hope somebody shows up for the chat!

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