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The Great Alone

Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (342 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love.

Cora Allbright and her husband, Ernt, a recently returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their 13-year-old daughter, Leni, to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.

At once an epic story of human survival and love and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America. With her trademark combination of elegant prose and deeply drawn characters, Kristin Hannah has delivered an enormously powerful story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable and enduring strength of women.

About the highest stakes a family can face and the bonds that can tear a community apart, this is an audiobook as spectacular and powerful as Alaska itself. It is the finest example of Kristin Hannah's ability to weave together the deeply personal with the universal.

©2018 Kristin Hannah (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about The Great Alone

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful novel

I thoroughly enjoyed and was entertained throughout, it had a great story line and narration was excellent 5 stars

3 people found this helpful

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An Epic story informed by experience

Having only recently returned from Alaska, this novel was truly meaningful. It is such a beautiful if unforgiving country full of characters you don’t associate with The United States, possibly more rural Canadians. This novel also had meaning in other ways. The hidden violence within marriage, the enduring love that seems no longer to exist and the sense of home and family. In most ways a woman’s book - although that in itself is stereotypical. At least this man found it both meaningful and charming. Great writing and impressive narration. It deserves to be a best seller on Audible. My wife I know will love it.

2 people found this helpful

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Great setting but too much melodrama for me

I am feeling so very torn writing this review. I loved the first ¾ of The Great Alone. No, I mean I really, really LOVED it! There is nothing better than armchair travel into a wild and remote place, and The Great Alone delivered that in spades. Hannah’s description of the harsh and yet beautiful Alaskan landscape created images so vivid that I could have mistaken them for real personal memories. I was living and breathing the story, and it totally sucked me in.

Hannah certainly knows how to wreak havoc with her readers’ emotions, and she proves this once again with her latest book. Telling a story of domestic violence and dysfunctional family dynamics through the eyes of a beautiful and smart thirteen-year-old was always going to upset your average reader, and the descriptions of Ernt Allbright’s violence evoked almost visceral emotions of anger and fear as he terrorised his poor family. I thought that she did a great job in portraying this man affected by PTSD, self-medicating with alcohol to overcome his demons, misunderstood by society in the era the book was set in. I have met men like him, and whilst I could not condone his actions, my heart went out to him for the damage that had been done to him by war. As the Alaskan winter approached, it was not only Leni who could foresee the problems that the dark and confinement would cause the Allbright family – the reader knows it, too. With the construction of the wall, tension built into such a powder-keg of impending doom that I couldn’t put the book down until I knew how this would play out. There was such great potential here for a nail-biting finale that I felt totally devastated and let down when the story took an about turn and turned into a mixture between a hallmark movie and a tea-time soapie.

At this point the story descended into a YA romance / tearjerker that stood in stark contrast to the tense tale of survival and family drama I had so enjoyed earlier. WTH happened? Obviously, I am not the target audience here, as I avoid those melodramatic stories like the plague, being much too old and cynical for such tearjerker moments. I wanted to go back to the moment it all turned to mush, and follow through with the careful groundwork the author had laid for a nail-biting finale full of tension, danger and fight for survival. Instead, there were a few quick fixes, a huge jump in the timeline and lots and lots of melodrama – I could hear the violins playing in the background.

So, how do you rate a book you both loved and hated equally? It’s hard to even consolidate the two very separate parts of the story. I am left feeling slightly cheated, as if standing in front of Ernt’s wall with the door firmly bolted shut to the fitting end of a story I had loved. But hey, I am one in a million and don’t let my old cynical self stop you from reading a book 90% of readers obviously adored. Seldom has a book made such waves on social media, so Hannah has found a formula that works for most of her audience. Sadly, that obviously doesn’t include me. Whilst the Allbrights will stay in my mind for some time to come, as I imagine different outcomes to their story, the one thing I will take away from the book is the visual image of a wild Alaska, and a truly magnificent armchair travel experience.

2 people found this helpful

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Really loved it!!!

Great book, I was unsure about the woman reading all the men and woman part, and the voice changes. I learned to love it, has a great storyline and had me with it. The end sounded a bit rushed and more fictional than the beginning, but I feel like Leny is happy and so am I.

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Wow! What a read

This book had me from the get go. A really good read and a child's perspective on DV wound into it.

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The great alone

Amazing story. Heartbreaking but also somehow uplifting at the same time. Painted such a clear and beautiful picture of the landscape and lifestyle I feel like I’ve been to Alaska now. Also beautiful performance on the narration by Julia as always.

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Great story

I loved, loved, loved this book and it was made even more enjoyable by the voice and sensitivity of the narrator.

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One of the best!

This book is so beautiful! It’s one of my favourites & another brilliant book from KH.

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Absolutely fabulous

The best audiobook I have listened to. Loved everything about it and looked forward to every time I could listen to more. Great story well narrated. Having been to Alaska I could imagine scenes and people. Loved it!

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Outstanding!

A novel that leaves you spellbound, deeply affected by its content and emotional depth and its rich, vividly descriptive imagery. Alaska is portrayed in all its glorious, untamed and breathtaking beauty. The characters that inhabit it loom as large as the country itself. Human frailty and heroism comfortably co-exist in this place. The frailty of a damaged Vietnam veteran, his enabling wife and helpless teenage daughter are cruelly exposed and emphasized by the stress brought on by the harsh and unforgiving Alaskan winter.

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  • Marlieke
  • 11-05-2018

Loved iT

I really loved this story. The narrator spoke a little too fast for me though, but performed the story very well. I highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-2020

Atmospheric and emotional

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. The reader's voice portrayed the characters so well. Wonderful descriptions of an isolated, beautiful part of the world and the dangers and belligerence that haunted a family. At the center of it all, is love in all it's naivety, trust, and forgiveness. Promises kept and broken and a haunting tale of resilience and hope. I would certainly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-08-2020

Captivating

This is a book about family relationships and toxicity intertwined with love and the complications that cause broken lives.

It’s a book about self-sacrificing love and the power we have a people to achieve this, even in the face of great adversity.

It’s an ode to place and a people whose way of live differs so from modern culture and lifestyle, yet has its own beauty in hardship.

It’s was wonderful and heartbreaking and frightening and inspiring....

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  • azura278
  • 18-04-2020

Beautiful

I struggled to finish this around the 25th Chapter and almost gave it up but then was pleasantly surprised with the last part. All in all an enriching read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michele Russell
  • 07-04-2020

Apt title during covid 19 isolation

As a person who grew up on the rugged West Coast of Tasmania this had an immediate appeal. It’s the ultimate love story but with so much more. It’s an insight into a community and way of life that few will understand appreciate or simply ever be a part of.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-03-2020

Wow!!!

Such a wonderful, powerful and emotional book!!
I couldn’t leave it until it ended. I had a strong experience while reading it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Latifa
  • 06-10-2019

Nice novel

Very nice written novel. Readers could imagine the life and wild in Alaska and that because it was well described by the author. I think it is a little bit long and could be shorter.

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  • Isabel Geldenhuys
  • 07-09-2019

I loved this book!

I could not stop listening to this story till it was finished. It took me to an unexpected land an beautiful era. The story and narrator blended well together and a voice I could well listen to. I am sorry it has ended! Absolutely worth the read!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John Kidd
  • 03-07-2019

awesome book

As a man who lives in country victoria I was spellbound by the description of Alaska. It really sounds like an amazing place.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maritza
  • 28-06-2019

simply incredible

I absolutely loved it. this story is especially beautiful compared to most books I've been reading recently. it shines for its thrilling seenes and the vast description environment. it's one of those books you can't keep your eyes from. it made me cry, it made me rage, it made me daydream about love and family. but most importantly it made me realize that there are so many nuances of love in every relationship. I recommend this book 100% and I can most definitely say it's become one of my favourites.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-08-2018

Outstanding

One of the best books I have ever read! Perfect in every way. Sad to be finished.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs Linda Best
  • 19-08-2018

Seemed like just a couple of hours long.

I took every opportunity to listen to the next part of the book when listening to this story. I usually listen whilst dog walking, ironing, in the car etc but I found myself literally just sitting still to listen to this story as I was so concerned about the characters that I needed to make sure in my head that they were ok. Its a story of love, resilience and tenacity mixed with brutality, ignorance and weakness. The narrator had a great voice which switched effortlessly between the characters.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Dolly w
  • 09-05-2018

Stick with it

This book was recommended to me by a few friends. For the first few chapters I thought I had wasted my money. The story felt dull and I didn't enjoy the narrators voice. Then about an hour in it hooked me and I loved it. An epic tale.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Noel
  • 10-04-2019

The Great Alone

I am always cautious after hearing so very many great reviews for a book that seems to be the latest fad. However, this deserves the praise as it’s a well written, engaging story.
It’s not ground breaking but holds the attention and paints a realistic picture of homesteading life in Alaska. (She says- never having been there!)
It wasn’t a challenging read, pretty straight forward, maybe a little predictable at times but I’ll try her other offerings.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 14-06-2018

BEST BOOK I'VE EVER LISTENED TO!!!

Thank you Kristin Hannah. You captured a whole chunk of my life. I worked in Alaska during the years of the setting of this book. I met the people from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The people who worked on the pipeline and their families. I remember the Land of the Midnight Sun. The moose and reindeer who strolled into town, and the black bears who reminded us we were not the top of the food chain in this extraordinary landscape. I saw cabbages the size of VW Bugs in the Matanuska Valley ... and the mosquitoes. People say New Yorkers are tough -- and they are -- but no one who hasn't lived in Alaska will ever be Alaska Tough. These people are the salt of the earth and have roots like an Oak tree. There is no one like them! I remember Alaska as what America, and life, should always remain.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sigrin
  • 28-02-2019

A palpable book


Having read The nightingale by Kristin Hannah’s I knew how this author writes and was looking forward to listening to this.

She has again delivered a marvellous book, that reaches out so you can feel all the emotions of the characters and know them personally.

The setting in Alaska with it’s fabulous descriptions of the terrain flora and fauna and people make you want to get up and discover it yourself. The Alaskan tourist board will be happy.

Lastly Julia Whelan, what an amazing narrator male female and child accents delivered perfectly.

I personally do not like American narrators and I have returned books which I know I would have enjoyed due to that American twang and nasal inflections. However Julia just purred into my ear and told this story faultlessly.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kim
  • 24-03-2018

Gripping

One of the best books I’ve read in years. Stayed up all night long listening to it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah Bland
  • 17-06-2019

Great story

Beautiful descriptions throughout the whole book and I find myself missing it now it's finished. Great storyline nothing too predictable and some last a lifetime philosophy and life observation.
I did find myself getting fed up with the he said, she said, mama said, dad said sometimes they came so often, but don't let it put you off the book - I definitely recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • Helen
  • 02-06-2019

Superb!!

Absolutely loved it. Made me feel every emotion possible. Great storytelling, I"m sorry it's finished.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Hawksamillion
  • 26-06-2018

Not for me

I found the writing very wooden. Often the writer signposts the emotional tone or implication in a rather bland and unsubtle way. The characters are rather two-dimensional. The love story is just too sugary and many characters speak only in jaded aphorisms. For me this is ok as a fast page turner when you want to just read and switch off your brain but nothing more..

2 people found this helpful