As I write this post, the Dark Waltz, such by Haley Westenra, is playing in the background – it feels oddly fitting. Not even for the lyrics, but for the melancholy, inevitable melody.

Which is how I would describe Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, melancholy and inevitable.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich“One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, and sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.

But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.

In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.” GoodReads.

I enjoy a story that is about the mystery of an act than the resolution of the act. It’s the reason I love Donna Tartt’s novel, A Little Friend, it raises more questions than it answers.

Idaho is a novel about a murder and a disappearance. Wade and Jenny had two daughters, June and May, until one hot summer’s day Jenny kills May and June was lost in the woods. Later Wade marries Ann, a choir teacher and pianist from June’s school, from who we the reader experience the story. We’re twice removed from the characters, via her.

At first, it seems as though you are reading to uncover a secret or to find June, the missing daughter. You suspect that maybe Jenny is covering for June, the bookish, boy crazy nine-year-old. But really, you’re reading to discover more about the event and what lead to it. As readers, we are left to piece together the puzzle from the minds of various characters, we fill in between the lines.

Death, for me, lay in melodies and love.

Have you read Idaho?
Did death lay in melodies and love for you too?

I requested this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I mean, I would enjoy reading a book about a character called Jenny where she is not dead or a prostitute. :p I’m concerned this book might be a little dark for me just at the moment, but maybe for later in the year!