Finland in 1901 was ruled by Russia, its young men drafted to serve in the Russian army, dissent ruthlessly put down. Aino’s older brother escaped to America. Her passions for political action were ignited by her teacher and a copy of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. Those passions deepened when Russian soldiers were billeted in the family’s meager farmhouse, eating the best of the rapidly diminishing food supply. Any attempt to protect themselves, to defy Russian cruelty was met with crushing force. As Aino fell in love and became more involved in defying the Russians, she learned first hand the cost of resistance. She fled to her brothers in America, near Astoria, there she defied custom by refusing to marry, and becoming involved in the labor movement.
Her story is seamlessly entwined with the history of the Pacific Northwest, a history that included charismatic Joe Hill and the labor movement. If you enjoy two days off a week and an 8 hour work day, thank the labor movement. They fought hard for more humane working conditions. Deep Creek is not only a story of history, it is also the story of a strong, independent woman’s struggles to balance family and commitment to a cause. When Aino does marry, it is no surprise that her passion for the greater good and damage at the hands of the Russians do not pave the way for a harmonious relationship. Deeply guarded secrets, rivalries, and the fortunes of characters the reader comes to care about make this a rich, rewarding novel. Marlantes mines his family’s past in writing this epic of a woman’s struggle to make a difference.— Deon Stonehouse
From the New York Times-bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War, a rich family saga about Finnish immigrants who settle and tame the Pacific Northwest, set against the early labor movements, World War I, and the upheaval of early twentieth-century America
Karl Marlantes's debut novel Matterhorn has been hailed as a modern classic of war literature. In his new novel, Deep River, Marlantes turns to another mode of storytelling--the family epic--to craft a stunningly expansive narrative of human suffering, courage, and reinvention.
In the early 1900s, as the oppression of Russia's imperial rule takes its toll on Finland, the three Koski siblings--Ilmari, Matti, and the politicized young Aino--are forced to flee to the United States. Not far from the majestic Columbia River, the siblings settle among other Finns in a logging community in southern Washington, where the first harvesting of the colossal old-growth forests begets rapid development, and radical labor movements begin to catch fire. The brothers face the excitement and danger of pioneering this frontier wilderness--climbing and felling trees one-hundred meters high--while Aino, foremost of the books many strong, independent women, devotes herself to organizing the industry's first unions. As the Koski siblings strive to rebuild lives and families in an America in flux, they also try to hold fast to the traditions of a home they left behind.Layered with fascinating historical detail, this is a novel that breathes deeply of the sun-dappled forest and bears witness to the stump-ridden fields the loggers, and the first waves of modernity, leave behind. At its heart, Deep River is an ambitious and timely exploration of the place of the individual, and of the immigrant, in an America still in the process of defining its own identity.
About the Author
Karl Marlantes graduated from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, before serving as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. He is the bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War. He lives in rural Washington.