Monday, June 3, 2019

Deep River by Karl Marlantes

The Russians are invading Finland and families there are losing loved ones.  Three Koski siblings escape to America.  They go to the wooded land near the Columbia River and begin logging.  They start chopping wood for the steam donkey but it doesn't take them long to move up.  There are a lot of casualties in the woods.  There were widow makers (broken branches way up in the tree that eventually come loose), broken cable lines they use to yard the trees, rolling trees, and falling trees.  Any of these connecting with a body can mean death.  When owners press for faster production, it gets even more dangerous.  Precautions go by the wayside.

Atlantic Monthly Press sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published on July 2nd.

The three siblings settle in a Finn community on the Washington coast.Their sister is an activist and immediately thinks the loggers are not paid enough.  She thinks they should strike but they just laugh at her.  More money would be nice but having a steady job is better.  She eventually gets involved with the Wobblies.  She's married by then and her husband isn't happy with all her travelling as she goes to the meetings and travels to demonstrations.  She even gets jailed.  But she wants the loggers to share more of the profit of their hard work and she won't give up.  People start calling her a red. And she eventually ends up divorced.

The brothers start building their own saw mills.  At first they work it with just the two of them.  When they have saved enough, they hire more help.

This is a story of hard work and sorrow.  Life was hard for them and a crooked banker doesn't help them, he steals their money.  They lose family members and friends.  But they are stubborn by nature and they keep persevering.  They do what they must.

Set in the early 1900's, it's a fascinating read.  Especially if you're married to third generation Finn.  My husband's father logged until he got enough money to buy a farm.  Reading this book was like visiting relatives in the past.

No comments: