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Real Life Influences Fiction In Emily Ruskovich's "Idaho"

Sam McPhee

This encore interview was originally broadcast in October, 2017.

Once in a great while, an author who has more insights and ideas than can possibly be contained in a 30-minute conversation.  This is the second part of the interview with Emily Ruskovich about her debut novel, Idaho.

Her debut novel, Idaho, centers on a mysterious and shocking act that fractures the lives of an entire family, and looks at the influences and reverberations from that event covering a span of nearly 50 years. In June 2019, the novel won the International Dublin Literary Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the industry, and the largest prize awarded to a single-work of English literature.

Previously, Emily discussed some of the inspirations for her novel, which is set in northern Idaho, where she grew up.  At the heart of Idaho is a mysterious, unthinkable tragedy, but as I noted last week, the book is neither a “who-dunnit” or a “why-dunnit.” Instead, it is a deeply moving and complex exploration of family, regret, love, memory and loss, with characters that are so deeply drawn they feel real.

We’re pleased and excited that Emily Ruskovich recently returned to her home state to join Boise State University as a faculty member in our MFA Program in Creative Writing. She is a 2015 winner of the O. Henry Award for her short story, “Owl,” and her debut novel has garnered widespread critical acclaim since its release last January.

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