Author: Rachel Weaver
Rachel Weaver’s debut novel, Point of Direction, grabbed my attention right from the start and held it captive until the end.
Protagonist Anna Richards’ emotional compass is spinning out of control after an unthinkable tragedy on an ice hiking trip upends her entire life. Seeking for a way to deal with it, she takes off, trekking solo on the ALCAN, a two-lane road through Canada toward Alaska.
She is picked up by Kyle, an Alaskan commercial fisherman in a beat up blue truck, who takes her to the fictional town of Neely. Not long after, he reaches his own tipping point. The salmon aren’t running this year, and he’s got only $259 to show for his last trip out on the Pacific. Something’s got to give.
He asks Anna to move with him to manage a lighthouse on the tiny remote island of Hiblar Rock, a six hour journey by boat from Juneau and three hours from Neely. No one has lived there in the past twenty years, and the last person who did mysteriously disappeared.
Anna’s not so sure she wants to go. Weaver writes:
“The water’s a thousand feet deep on either side, you know,” I say, leaning toward him, both elbows on the bar.
Kyle’s eyes hold mine. I feel the momentum building in him, the first pull of a tidal wave, the first hint of motion already underway. “Come on, Anna, say you’ll do it.”
The beer is cold in my hand, cold down the back of my throat. I hold his gaze, something gathering at the center of me. I think of water on all sides, of myself out there. Nowhere left to run.
Once on the island alone, a new adventure begins. It takes extreme courage, determination, hard work, and brilliant planning just to survive. But more than that— much more—Anna and Kyle are on their own separate journeys to find direction in their lives. Both are keeping huge secrets from one another. These secrets hold them apart and bind them together, at the same time.
I won’t spoil the surprises or plot twists. But I will say that Rachel Weaver’s unique voice is as much a pleasure to read as the story itself. For example: “It was like adding flour to cake batter, my life to his. A certain dissolving, thickening, inseparability.”
Rachel Weaver holds a MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University. She worked for the Forest Service in Alaska, studying songbirds, raptors, brown and black bears. Her firsthand knowledge of Alaska provides authentic and rich detail throughout the novel.
If you’re looking for a compelling read, this one will not disappoint. One caveat for sensitive readers is the use of the occasional swear words in dialogue.
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