Synposis from B&N:
Gold fever swept the world in 1897. The chance for untold riches sent thousands of dreamers on a perilous trek toward their fortunes, failures, or deaths. Follow four English aristocrats and their Irish servant as they misguidedly haul their dreams across cruel Canadian terrain toward the Klondike gold fields.
Journey actually started out as a section of Alaska, and was eventually cut and made into its own novel, so it made sense to me to read them together. This was another completely engrossing novel, and I am happy I read these two back to back. At the end of Journey, Michener discusses why he ultimately decided to take this story out of its original place in the novel Alaska, and it makes sense. However, I found it a very compelling read, having so recently finished the first novel.
Because Journey is so much shorter (just over 300 pages), I found it much more difficult to put down. This is not a feel-good novel, as much of what happens to the main characters is quite tragic. I will admit that I am not a fan of Lord Lutton, who would probably be considered the novel’s lead – he was extremely pompous an arrogant, and much of the tragedy is a direct result of his inability to admit he made bad decisions. The other characters were much more sympathetic, which made the events even more sad.
This novel would be a great introduction to Michener for someone who has considered reading his work, but is intimidated by the length of his other stories. It gives a good example of the writing style, but won’t break your shoulder being lugged around in a bag. (Or am I the only one that does that?)
At the end of Journey, Michener talks about his three goals in writing these two novels:
“I wanted to help the American public to think intelligently about the arctic, where large portions of future international history might well focus; I wanted to remind my readers that Russia had held Alaska for a longer period, 127 years (1741 through 1867 inclusive), than the United States had held it, 122 years (1867 through 1988); and I particularly desired to acquaint Americans with the role that neighboring Canada had played and still does play in Alaskan history.”
I feel like he accomplished each one of those goals in the two books, and I absolutely have been converted to a Michener lover! I will certainly be reading more of his novels in the future.
Source: Grandpa W.
Reviewed by: Elizabeth