The Wind Is Not A River

Hardcover | December 31, 2013

byBrian Payton

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A gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife–separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil–fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands

Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss, to document some part of the growing war that claimed his own flesh and blood. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Helen, after an argument they both regret, he heads north from Seattle to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government.

While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as "the Birthplace of Winds." There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese.

Alone in their home three thousand miles to the south, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband's disappearance. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is–and what she is capable of doing. Somehow, she must find John and bring him home, a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows.

A powerful, richly atmospheric story of life and death, commitment and sacrifice, The Wind Is Not a River illuminates the fragility of life and the fierce power of love.

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From the Publisher

A gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife–separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil–fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian IslandsFollowing the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss,...

Brian Payton has written for theNew York Times, theLos Angeles Times, theChicago Tribune, and theBoston Globe. He is the author ofShadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness, which was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Book Club pick, a Pearl's Pick on NPR, and a National Outdoor Book Awards Book of the Year.The Ice Passage: A True St...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 1 inPublished:December 31, 2013Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443423734

ISBN - 13:9781443423731

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An American Booksellers Association IndieNext Great Reads PickAn American Library Association Library Reads PickAn Amazon Book of the Month"Not since Cold Mountain have I read such a brilliantly sustained metaphor for our collective guilt and grief, nor such a stirring testament to the redemptive power of love. We need this novel now." -Wayne Grady, author of Emancipation Day"The Wind Is Not a River is a harrowing, beautiful book. Whether Payton is describing a journalist's bleak ordeals of survival in the Japanese-held Aleutian Islands or a USO showgirl's efforts to sing an unfamiliar tune, his taut, economic prose establishes a compelling intimacy with his subjects. On the bookshelf of World War II novels, Payton's can sit confidently beside Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead." -David Macfarlane, author of The Figures of Beauty"What a great-hearted, beautifully written, and utterly riveting novel. The Wind Is Not a River has a power that brings to mind the old Greek stories of war, love, and journey." -Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena."The Wind is Not a River vibrates with the cross-currents of accident and survival in the face of impossible odds, and in the face of warfare's chaotic indifference. Through the little-known story of the World War II in the Aleutian Islands, Payton etches an incredible and mesmerizing tale of loss and connection, love and determination. This novel singes the seams of history, strips it down to the bare, forked elements of faith and faithfulness." -Aritha van Herk, author of Restlessness and Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta"Brian Payton's The Wind is Not a River is both ethereal and entrancing: once inside John Easley's head, escape is neither easy nor safe. This book shows all too well the way isolation chews through civilization and leaves only bones." -Russell Wangersky, author of Whirl Away and The Glass Harmonica"The Wind is Not a River is a compelling tale of one man's battle to survive the physical elements, the tides of war, and terrifying isolation. Brian Payton gives us a compelling look at how primal, how essential, the links between lovers become when everything else is stripped away." -Natalee Caple, author of In Calamity's Wake"Top-notch. Payton has delivered a richly detailed, vividly resonant chronicle of war's effect on ordinary people's lives." -Publishers Weekly"Part adventure tale, part love story, this beautifully written novel offers a moving portrait of a couple whose lives are forever changed by the only battle of WWII to take place on American soil. Payton, in the loveliest of prose, illuminates a little-known aspect of WWII while portraying a devoted couple who bravely face down the isolation, pain, and sacrifice of wartime." -Booklist"Beautifully written, lyrical and elegiac, The Wind Is Not a River is a novel you must read, because John Easley's struggle to survive and his wife Helen's struggle to survive and his wife Helen's struggle to find him form the most triumphant and heartbreaking story I've read in years." -David Vann, author of Legend of a Suicide and Caribou Island"This moving and powerfully written novel explores themes of war, life and death, morality, and love in a unique World War II battleground that very few people outside of Alaska know or remember. VERDICT: Payton, known for his nonfiction works Shadow of the Bear and The Ice Passage, has written a suspenseful, beautifully researched title that readers will want to devour in one sitting. As a nearly lifelong inhabitant of Alaska and having spent three years on Adak in the Aleutians, this reviewer was particularly gratified by the accuracy of the author's portrayal of the land and people of the 'birthplace of winds.' Bravo!" -Jane Henriksen Baird, Library Journal"Ambitious. Like all great novels, The Wind Is Not a River .is many things at once: a mystery, a war story, a love story, and, at its core, a tale of survival." -Neal Thompson, Amazon.com"(An) engrossing, satisfying novel about surviving solitude, war, and love." -Gail Perry, Winnipeg Free Press"Miraculous and heartbreaking."-Melissa Brown, BookPage"A beautiful, heart-inspiring and heart-wrenching tale of love, forgiveness, loneliness, the strength of the human spirit." -Lorinda Hayes, Pittsburg Post-Gazette"A haunting love story." -Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY