After becoming widowed veteran (Dave) and his 7 year old daughter (Bella) abandon their former life in Jonathan Evison’s 2021 novel Legends of the North Cascades. After bushwhacking though the North Cascades, the duo attempts to settle down in a mountain side cave. Eventually both succumb to the isolation of the mountain and begin to lose their grasp of reality and must decide to either remain in the cave or return to their former lives and family.
The local legend of “Cave Dave,” added an interesting dynamic to the plot . Seeing the local perspective of Dave and Bella’s mental and physical decline allowed the reader to better grasp the dangerous situation the main characters found themselves in. However, the story in its entirety was a little ridiculous. Many of the characters were unbelievable and unsympathetic. In addition, the ice age visions that Bella has throughout the story were bizarre and added nothing to the plot of the book. In my opinion, the novel would have been a more cohesive read if it was scrapped all together.
The importance of a supportive community is the most impactful theme of Evison’s novel. At first, I found the parallel stories of Dave with Bella and the Ice Age Mother and Son to be a little odd but by the end of the story the message was clear; with out community we will lose our sense of humanity.