I remember that it was during my middle school years when I was still choosing books in a bookstore at random. Since then I’ve been more of a deliberate reader/consumer. Still, it was not so random that time when I bought Heroes of the Frontier as I’ve already heard about Eggers, but only that he wrote The Circle which was adapted into a movie, so that was pretty much a shot in the dark.
It seemed nice. And I felt like I needed a break from all of that postmodern mumbo-jumbo and the visions of doomed humankind, so an escape into the Alaskan solitude was a way to go.
And it was nice. A very funny, endearing tribute to that distant part of the US. Josie and her children run away from her careless ex-husband, career failures and a suburgatory-like environment of their hometown in Ohio. It’s a variation of a road novel where a family packed in an RV travel through the wild, Alaskan world, full of its specific images, peoples and—of course—obstacles. Eventually it narrows down to the importance of unity, bravery, staying true to yourself and other themes of such kind but presented in an unpretentious and amiable way.
Then I’ve read a little about The Circle and its dystopian-technological criticism and I’ve understood what I think is lacking in Heroes. I’d imagine its ending to be something about Josie returning back to the civilization of American mainland and using her experiences to lead a more assertive and successful life. The actual ending is constructed in a way that such interpretation doesn’t have to be necessarily excluded. Still, I feel like it was that kind of bland glorification of the “natural state” that I’m not especially fond of.
Nevertheless, I don’t condemn the novel because of that. It makes some good points about our contemporary, domestic life, family values and has a lot of moments when I chuckled audibly—and usually that’s all I need to endorse a piece of prose. I’d have to check out The Circle and we’ll see what I’ll make out of all of that.