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The Wind Is Not a River
by Brian Payton

Published: 2014-01-07
Hardcover : 320 pages
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The Wind Is Not a River is Brian Payton's gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife—separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil—fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands.

Following the death of ...

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Introduction

The Wind Is Not a River is Brian Payton's gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife—separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil—fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands.

Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Helen, he heads north to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government. 

While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as “the birthplace of winds.” There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese. 

Alone at home, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband's disappearance. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is—and what she is capable of doing. Somehow, she must find John and bring him home, a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows. 

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2014: At the start of this ambitious and earnest novel, a World War II journalist named John Easley parachutes safely from his doomed plane and finds himself on the Japanese-occupied Aleutian island of Attu, "unaccountably, alive and whole." Adds our narrator: "And so it begins." Indeed it does. Like all great novels, The Wind Is Not a River (a vague title that doesn't serve its story well enough) is many things at once: a mystery, a war story, a love story, and, at its core, a tale of survival. Scenes alternate between Easley and his wife, Helen, who leaves their Seattle home to join an Alaska-bound USO troupe, hoping to somehow find him. While Helen's efforts are a necessary counter-balance to Easley's days of strife, the scenes on Attu are the most compelling, and heartbreaking. In fact, the island itself becomes a character, a desolate, ancient, grumpy mound of ice and rock, sand and grass. Easley joins forces with a fellow survivor, and, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, they craft a makeshift home in a cave, foraging for seaweed, mussels, the occasional fish or sea bird. Both men are soon wasting away, in mind and body. Payton pens some lovely, sober moments. Scanning the horizon for ships, Easley sees an empty sea and "only smug birds skirting the shore. More of nothing, nothing more." Though we learn Easley is mourning a younger brother, killed in the war in Europe, he is initially unknowable. Even his comrade wonders, "who the hell are you?" In his fight for survival, sustained by an unearthed photograph of a young Aleutian woman, Easley finds an answer to that question. --Neal Thompson

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  "combines fact and fiction"by ebach (see profile) 05/08/17

THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER is a perfect combination of fact and fiction. While presenting actual “events [that] are forgotten footnotes in the history of the Second World War,” Brian Payton... (read more)

 
  "This is a story about a WWII event which should be explored further."by thewanderingjew (see profile) 05/13/14

In 1942, the Japanese military occupied two of the Aleutian Islands, Attu and Kiska, which were part of American territory. For more than a year, the American soldiers attempted to recapture... (read more)

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