Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers

67%

11 Critic Reviews

“Heroes of the Frontier” again offers complex, believable characters, but their story lacks the magnetic super-realism of some earlier works.
-NY Times

Synopsis

“A picaresque adventure and spiritual coming-of-age tale — On the Road crossed with Henderson the Rain King… Deeply affecting.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times 

A captivating, often hilarious novel of family and wilderness from the bestselling author of The Circle, this is a powerful examination of our contemporary life and a rousing story of adventure.
 
Josie and her children’s father have split up, she’s been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she’s grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée’s family, Josie makes a run for it, figuring Alaska is about as far as she can get without a passport. Josie and her kids, Paul and Ana, rent a rattling old RV named the Chateau, and at first their trip feels like a vacation: They see bears and bison, they eat hot dogs cooked on a bonfire, and they spend nights parked along icy cold rivers in dark forests. But as they drive, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, past mistakes pursuing her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization.
 
A tremendous new novel from the best-selling author of The CircleHeroes of the Frontier is the darkly comic story of a mother and her two young children on a journey through an Alaskan wilderness plagued by wildfires and a uniquely American madness.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Dave Eggers

See more books from this Author
DAVE EGGERS is the editor of McSweeney's and a cofounder of 826 National, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers for youth, located in seven cities across the United States. He is the author of four books, including What Is the What and How We Are Hungry.
 
Published July 26, 2016 by Knopf. 400 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Heroes of the Frontier
All: 11 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Below average
on May 04 2016

those details can’t compensate for the overall baggy and rambling nature of the story, which doesn’t meaningfully develop Josie’s character and mainly reduces her children into plot complications. “We are not civilized people,” Josie muses. But this novel is an unpersuasive glimpse into our nascent ferality.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 19 2016

Eggers’s shaggy plot may not be to all tastes, but his writing is fresh and full of empathy, his observations on modern society apt and insightful.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Barbara Kingsolver on Jul 21 2016

“Heroes of the Frontier” again offers complex, believable characters, but their story lacks the magnetic super-realism of some earlier works.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Jul 17 2016

That bone-deep knowledge of a child’s relationship with a parent informs Mr. Eggers’s portraits of Paul and Ana, and their love for and dependence upon Josie — by far the strongest and most deeply affecting parts of this absorbing if haphazard novel.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Claude Peck on Jul 26 2016

As if in a rush to summarize the story’s bigger meanings, these examples multiply near the finale, a ripping yarn told under a thunderstorm as big as all Alaska.

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Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Edmund Gordon on Jul 22 2016

There aren’t many such low points, but there’s far too much that doesn’t really pull its weight....it’s a red herring. Nothing out of the ordinary happens. You soon start to wonder if Eggers knows where he’s going with all this: he often seems as lost as Josie is, and like her, he’s doing whatever it takes just to stay on the move.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Carolyn Kellogg on Jul 22 2016

But this is not “Into the Wild,” thankfully. She doesn’t have a grand narrative goal, like McCandless or Don Quixote or Odysseus or Dante. Instead, she’s driven by a nagging restless dissatisfaction – one that’s very human.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Bill Jones on Jul 25 2016

...while Heroes Of The Frontier packs a dynamic punch at its conclusion, Eggers is not about to leave his readers with easy answers to the complex problems he presents.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by MARCEL THEROUX on Jul 27 2016

...he gives us a specific American parent in detail so credible that much of it feels reported, a woman tormented by her own punitive conscience. At the same time, Josie is an Everymum, whose hopes and struggle will strike a chord with anyone who has tried to balance the contradictions of parenthood...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Alex Preston on Jul 17 2016

This is a novel that won’t please everyone: Josie’s story is meandering, restrained and lacking in thrills (although these for me are just part of its peppy charm). Heroes of the Frontier acts on the reader like a breath of Alaskan air, cleansing the spirit and lifting the heart.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Michael Melgaard on Jul 28 2016

Eggers’s exploration of the conflict created by these two national traits puts Heroes of the Frontier firmly in Great American Novel territory; it is a book where Josie is, like everyone else, searching for the place she’s supposed to be.

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Reader Rating for Heroes of the Frontier
57%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 113 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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