Selected by Barnes & Noble as their book-of-the-month for October, Ariel Djanikian’s newly-released “The Prospectors” is a sweeping rags-to-riches story of survival and greed across American history following a family transformed by the Klondike Gold Rush.
The middle daughter of struggling California fruit farmers, Alice Bush is accustomed to feeling inferior and destitute. But when her elder sister’s husband strikes a vein of gold in the Yukon Territory, Alice finally seizes control of her destiny by joining a wave of white settlers making the dangerous trek to the Klondike.
What follows is an awakening of ambition for the quietly opportunistic Alice, who, by luck and circumstance, becomes tightly intertwined in her sister and brother-in-law’s newfound fortune, as well as the beginning of a generations-long family quest for wealth that unfolds against the icy Canadian wilderness and the booming oilfields of California.
One hundred years later, in 2015, Alice’s great-great-granddaughter Anna must grapple with moral conflict and questions of justice as she travels to the Klondike to bequeath her would-be inheritance to the First Nations peoples who paid the price for its creation.
Bringing the Klondike and turn-of-the-century California to vivid life, Ariel Djanikian weaves an ambitious narrative of claiming the American Dream and its rippling effects across generations. Sweeping and awe-inspiring, “The Prospectors” is an unforgettable story of family loyalties that interrogates the often-overlooked hostilities and inequities born during the Gold Rush era.
“Told in glimmering prose and rich with historical detail, ‘The Prospectors’ immerses us in the Yukon Gold Rush so deeply, you can feel the grit on your hands,” said Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Our Missing Hearts.”
“Smart, surprising, and epic: the sort of adventure that brings to life both a nineteenth-century gold rush and a twenty-first century fight for the family riches that remain,” said Chris Bohjalian, #1 New York Times bestselling author of 23 books, including “Midwives,” “The Sandcastle Girls,” “The Guest Room,” and “The Flight Attendant.”
“Ariel Djanikian’s ‘The Prospectors’ is pure gold—the beauty of Alice’s character, the precise rendition of terrain, the pain of the First Nations people who lost to the gold prospectors, Anna’s attempt to right her ancestors’ wrongs. Only Djanikian could’ve written this book—it’s tender, it’s precise, it’s brutal, it’s complex. It made me realize how much I’d waited for this after ‘The Office of Mercy.’ I’m already waiting for Djanikian’s next.” — Uwem Akpan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Say You’re One of Them.”
Ariel Djanikian was born in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and is the previous recipient of a Fulbright grant, Meijer Fellowship, Cowden Award, and Hopwood Award. She is the author of the novel “The Office of Mercy,” and her writing has appeared in Tin House, Alaska Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, The Millions, and The Rumpus. She currently lives near DC with her husband and children and teaches fiction writing at Georgetown University.
Connect with Djanikian on Instagram, and meet her at an upcoming engagement in Washington, D.C., set for Saturday, November 4 at 5 p.m. at Politics & Prose, in conversation with Nate Brown and a virtual reading on November 14 at 3 p.m. ET with Barnes & Noble’s October Book Club.