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The Great Alone

Written by: Kristin Hannah
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (908 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The number one New York Times best seller

The newest audiobook sensation from Kristin Hannah, best-selling author of The Nightingale.

This program is read by acclaimed narrator Julia Whelan, whose enchanting voice brought Gone Girl and Fates and Furies to life. Kristin Hannah reads the acknowledgements.

Alaska, 1974.Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.

For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. 

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in 18 hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska - a place of incomparable beauty and danger. 

The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night audiobook about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

Praise for The Great Alone:

"Listeners, beware: You won't want to stop listening to narrator Julia Whelan's performance of this complex story of survival and family...With pitch-perfect timing and a touch of drama, Whelan exquisitely builds the tension, creating an enveloping atmosphere of foreboding that's difficult to turn away from...a don't miss audiobook experience." (AudioFile Magazine)

"Reliably alluring...The Great Alone is packed with rapturous descriptions of Alaskan scenery...Hannah remembers and summons an undeveloped wilderness, describing a gloriously pristine region in the days before cruise ships discovered it." (The New York Times Daily Review)

"Kristin Hannah's new novel makes Alaska sound equally gorgeous and treacherous - a glistening realm that lures folks into the wild and then kills them there." (The Washington Post)

©2017 Kristin Hannah (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

What the critics say

"Reliably alluring...The Great Alone is packed with rapturous descriptions of Alaskan scenery… Hannah remembers and summons an undeveloped wilderness, describing a gloriously pristine region in the days before cruise ships discovered it." (The New York Times Daily Review)

"Kristin Hannah's new novel makes Alaska sound equally gorgeous and treacherous - a glistening realm that lures folks into the wild and then kills them there." (The Washington Post)

"Listeners, beware: You won't want to stop listening to narrator Julia Whelan's performance of this complex story of survival and family...With pitch-perfect timing and a touch of drama, Whelan exquisitely builds the tension, creating an enveloping atmosphere of foreboding that's difficult to turn away from...a don't miss audiobook experience." (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about The Great Alone

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a story so strong it made me sick to my stomach

the story was so strong, so raw and so real my stomach was sick, sometimes I was unable to continue for a while and needed a break. but the draw was strong, I had to keep listening. the story warped and turned and made me yell at the characters for their choices! and then it all came together in a messed up warped story of truth and love and the honesty of life. Empaths beware, you'll need to debrief yourself after this one. But it is worth it.

4 people found this helpful

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Loved this book!

It had my total attention from the moment I started listening. I was actually sad when it was over!

4 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Great Narration! Loved this story and the storyteller. It was so descriptive and emotional

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Domestic Violence and darama

I had no idea this book was filled with domestic violence and a lot of drama and ache and pain when I bought it I don't like to read about violence and maybe the author was trying to convey how domestic violence was going unnoticed by the authorities a few decades ago and women were victims with nowhere to turn to for help. This book made me angry, frustrated and annoyed a lot of times The author is a good story teller and she brings the characters to life, but for me this is the first and last book I read by her

3 people found this helpful

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A nice twist

So many stories I’ve read about Alaska pioneering have the same foundational story base. I appreciated the twist in this one!!

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Drama and disappointment

Ugh. I loved the Nightingale so much....! This was a predictable, boring, poorly written soap opera. I can't believe it's the same author.

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Phenomenal!

I had high expectations for this book especially after reading The Nightingale. I was not disappointed! This story was brilliantly told and so engrossing. Kristen Hannah brings such depth and complexities to all her characters. It's a reminder that the choices we make in our lives and the people we connect with is not always easy and clear-cut.

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Loved it!

From start to middle to finish, I loved this book. Great imagery to help me picture their lives, and the characters were well developed and believable. It tugged my emotions in all different directions and then enjoyed the end.

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fantastic

loved the story, great narrative, kept me engaged. characters were true to life. loved it

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Unforgettable story!

I absolutely loved this story of heart wrenching pain, love, young love, growth and hardships amid the absolute breathtaking beauty and brutality of Alaska. The story gets 5/5 stars but the narrator gets one star, at most. She can read the book but can only voice two characters: male and female! All the male characters sound alike and all the female characters, too.

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  • 🎧 Cyndi Marie 🎧
  • 2018-09-12

✫✫✫✫✫ 5 Stars ✫✫✫✫✫

I don't even know where to begin to explain how much I loved this book or how it left me emotionally. This book is hard because it deals with PTSD and domestic violence but it is so much more. It is about a mother/daughter relationship, it is about unconditional love and it is about learning to adapt and for me especially this book is about true love even if this isn't a romance. Set in Alaska in the 1970's, we get a true feeling of what it was like to live "off the grid" and of the land but still have community and family. It also gives us a feel for what it must have been like for Vietnam survivors with PTSD in a world where PTSD didn't exist yet. This is a story about a family with a dad with PTSD, a mom who loves her husband and remembers what he was like before the war and a young daughter caught up in a life that was anything she could have expected. Leni (the daughter) is the protagonist of this story, she goes from 13 to about 25 over the course of this book and we get to she her blossom and harden from life in Alaska. She finds true love and she has a dream and then its all ripped away. Seeing how she grows and makes the best with the life she has and the beautiful undying strength of the relationship she has with her mother melted my heart. Without giving actual spoilers, I'll just say this book made me mad, broke my heart, had me cheering like a cheerleader, made me proud and melted my heart. Every emotion I could have in a book.... they were all there in this one book. I highly recommend it! The narration was superb! Julia Whelan completely brought this book to life, she gave each character their own voice and let me get lost in the story. PERFECT casting choice in my opinion! #BestBook2018 #ChangedMyLife #AlaskaLife #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

80 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Morro Schreiber
  • 2018-04-11

A Long, Hard Slog Through Endless Despair and Heartache

I really wanted to like this book. The writing was excellent, technically. But it was just ONE BAD THING AFTER ANOTHER for these characters. There was NO LETTING UP, no comic relief to break the tension, no happy moments in between all the horror and terror and death and despair. I don't usually write reviews. But I had to warn people. I also don't usually read contemporary adult fiction. So maybe it's all like this; I don't know. However, if it is, I have no further desire to read any. B I'm going to compare this book briefly with another book that had a lot of heartache and despair, "Birds Without Wings" by Louis Something I Can't Remember. He also wrote "Corelli's Mandoline". Another book with heartache. But somehow, these books had redeeming features and humor and characters you could like and root for. In "The Great Alone", it's like watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion...you know every little thing that is going to happen WAY before it actually happens, but you're powerless to stop it and somehow you can't look away. I guess I was hoping the author WOULD have a little more imagination, and maybe NOT take the most expected path to every tragic conclusion, but -SPOILER ALERT- she doesn't, and she does. You pretty much listen for a few chapters and you know EXACTLY what's going to happen to almost everyone. By the middle of the book, I could have written the epilogue and been 99% correct, even down to minute details. The author clearly knows and loves Alaska well, and it shows. Having lived there myself, I can attest to the authenticity of the descriptions and vocabulary. But I just couldn't handle the endless grief with no break. And the unbearably heavy-handed foreshadowing that pretty much gave away the entire plot. I'm sure professional critics will love this book. It's well written and very depressing, and since that what they seem to go for in adult fiction, the author has a winning combination. I don't think I'll get another one by her, though. The narrator does a STELLAR job. She's probably the reason I kept listening long after I knew everything would play out the way it did, and she's the reason my review gave as many stars as it did. I would get another book read by this narrator in a NEW YORK MINUTE, which is WAY faster than an Alaska minute, or so I'm told.

240 people found this helpful

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  • Deborah
  • 2018-02-07

Riveting!

I have never read anything by this author before; the review sounded interesting, but what drew me was the narrator. I love Julia Whelan! I have mixed feelings about the story. The author captured my attention with her descriptions of Alaska, and what it would be like to move there. Since I work in the field of Domestic Violence, it was hard to listen to this story at times. Thankfully, we have come a long way in helping victims/survivors of DV. Once I started listening to The Great Alone, I was hooked. I wanted to listen straight through. It’s been a long time since I stayed up half the night, consumed by a book! I shall be reading more by Kristin Hannah, I’m sure. What a story!

227 people found this helpful

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  • ontha
  • 2018-03-21

don't bother. predictable. narration irritating

very difficult to listen to. You can predict the setup, the behavior of characters and the irritation in the narration I couldn't listen too much longer. I sent it back

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jan
  • 2018-02-09

Such a talented author and narrator...

I recently read The Nightingale... and loved it to pieces. So I bumped this book by the same author to the top of my list when it came out. The books are so different, only the beautiful writing feels familiar. Kristin Hannah took me right into this family, their move and the new community in rural Alaska they joined.
I could see the train wreck coming for hours but couldn't look away and couldn't stop listening until the book was over... have to admit I cried. This won't have the universal appeal that The Nightingale had, my husband wouldn't listen to such a relationship oriented book and domestic violence is just a plain old hard topic. However, I found it's message of the power of community, friendship, family and the resilience of the human spirit to be uplifting. Made me wish I was Alaska tough... like the characters I met in this book.

220 people found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 2018-03-17

Very disappointing

I don't understand all the rave reviews. I always look forward to Kristin Hannah's books and loved The Nightengale. This book just meandered and seem to go nowhere with the story except forward in time. I don't want to give spoilers, but I kept waiting for something to happen. I found the characters cliched and stereotypical and just lost patience.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Mamabetz
  • 2018-02-24

Not my favorite by this author

Would you try another book from Kristin Hannah and/or Julia Whelan?

I have read and enjoyed every other book by Kristin Hannah, and this is not up to par. I did think the narrator was excellent.

Would you be willing to try another book from Kristin Hannah? Why or why not?

Yes, I will look forward to her next project.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

It would take a couple of hours to sit through the movie. The book goes on and on and on.

Any additional comments?

The characters were all written sympathetically and I'm sure it gave an unvarnished truth about domestic abuse, but that was part of the problem. I found myself continually frustrated by the refusal of the abused wife and mother to do anything to help herself or her daughter. The frustration turned to fury about half way through, and still the story kept on and on, repeating and repeating. It engaged me to the point where I kept listening because I cared about the characters, but it was exhausting.

74 people found this helpful

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  • Lorilyn S. Coleman
  • 2018-02-09

Gripping without letup

A perfectly written book. It lured me into the story and then kept astounding me with twists and turns. I was wishing for a tidy happy resolution but instead got something much deeper, a story of what love is.

26 people found this helpful

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  • paintgal
  • 2018-06-27

IT WOULD. NOT. ENDDDD....

I bought this because I truly enjoyed the Nightingale, I made a mistake. There is no doubt that Kristin Hannah is a beautiful writer capable of making one feel like they are transported to a different place and time. But this book was excruciating to get through. 1) It’s very violent, and it’s all directed toward women. Its not that I can’t abide violence for the sake of telling a story honestly....but this is 15 long hours of the same violence over and over annnd over again! 2) Though I know that many battered women behave just the way that Cora did... it would’ve been more bearable/understandable had this book been at least 5 hours shorter! Instead, after many chapters with the same scenario on loop...the reader becomes absolutely fed up with (what most people would perceive to be) Cora’s moronic behavior and lack of regard for her daughters safety. 3) I now thoroughly detest the endearment “Baby Girl”.... I think I heard it 3,000 times. 4) For the most part, Julia Whelan is a gifted narrator. There’s just one thing that bothers me... every male that she voices sounds like a 70 year old miner, no matter what the age of the character is. Wish I hadn’t used a credit.

5 people found this helpful

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  • keasha
  • 2018-04-11

Couldn’t finish it.....

I love this author and I’ve read most everything she’s written. Bought this without a second thought. Really disappointed. Kept waiting for the story to get better but it just went on and on repeating the same scenarios. Very predictable and very disturbing. Had no idea I was wading into a story about domestic abuse. That’s on me. I’ll be better at reading the synopsis of a new book despite it being by a beloved author.

17 people found this helpful