Like some others, I was hoped this book would add depth to my enjoyment of the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. Unfortunately, it proved to be an overlong string of poorly written sketches - a lot of good ideas only slightly realized. Several times I was stopped in my tracks by misspelled words that an editor should have caught since the author didn’t. I forged on past shallow characters and meager descriptions of a uniquely dense natural world (compare this to Kesey’s evocation of the Oregon forests in “Sometimes A Great Notion”) hoping to find the point of the story. I finally had to give it up when the author introduced an elderly librarian as “Flabby Arms”. It was one thing for his character to note that physical condition as a sign of her age, but for Evison to go on using the snarky term in place of her name or position was just typical of his sophomoric character development. I’m sorry that I labored so long trying to find something to like in “West of Here”. What a contrast when I picked up (and couldn’t put down) “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Now that’s how to write!

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