The Prospectors: A Novel (Hardcover)
A sweeping rags-to-riches story about claiming the American Dream, following a family transformed by the Klondike Gold Rush.
“Told in glimmering prose and rich with historical detail...you can feel the grit on your hands.”—Celeste Ng
"Smart, surprising, and epic."—Chris Bohjalian
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.
About the Author
Ariel Djanikian holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan and is the author The Office of Mercy. Her work has been published in Tin House, The Paris Review, The Rumpus, The Millions, and elsewhere. She has received a Fulbright and a Hopwood, among other awards. She teaches at Georgetown University and lives near Washington, DC, with her family.
“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. A sweeping adventure story that explores the deep hunger for power, the muddy morality of what we do to get it, and the possibilities—and limitations—of making reparations for past wrongs.” — Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Our Missing Hearts
"The Prospectors is 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. It's more than a golden nugget of a novel. It's the motherlode and I absolutely loved it." — Chris Bohjalian, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant
“Vivid and precise, this epic story asks what happens after the gold rush, to those whose pockets are deep and to those whose pockets have been picked. Djanikian brings the historical details to life as well as the moral questions of the present in this rich, glittering novel.” — Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of This Time Tomorrow
“An epic story of adventure, The Prospectors is lavishly researched and deeply felt. A fascinating, page-turning look at the true price of the American dream.” — Jenny Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Pineapple Street
“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
"Beautifully drawn and deeply moving, The Prospectors, illuminates the rich and brutal landscape of the Yukon Gold Rush, along with the triumphs and tragedies of those men and women who claimed it as their own. A brilliant and powerful story, steeped in little-known history, Djankian's new novel shimmers like gold." — Alyson Richman, #1 international bestselling author of The Thread Collectors
“A captivating, unforgettable saga … a compelling tale of the American Dream and its rippling effects across generations.” — Woman's World
“An intriguing and needed take on the Gold Rush novel. . . Djanikian grapples with moral arguments about land, resources, labor, and capitalism and manages to do so without weighing down her rich and well-written narrative. The Prospectors glows with immersive prose, complex characters, and an evocative setting.” — Historical Novel Society
“Djanikian creates strong emotional attachments and builds subtle tension for readers. By explaining the gold rush’s historical background and narrating everyday life for prospectors, she provides a solid framework for exploring issues of racism, settler colonialism, and exploitation of natural resources. This engaging book will appeal to fans of Leon Uris, James Michener, and Herman Wouk.” — Booklist
“Thought-provoking … [Main character] Alice’s morally complex character and vividly evoked experiences are gripping. This offers ample rewards.” — Publishers Weekly
“With The Prospectors, Djanikian brings the novelist's microscope to the archives, taking the real history of the Berry family of California and exploring the motivations and personal dynamics and parallel lives that are so often left out of triumphalist histories of the west. The result is an illuminating exploration of the greed and human mess that lies beneath settler histories—and a truly gripping family story.” — Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State
“Fast-paced…Exciting to read…The Office of Mercy is an indisputable page-turner with a surprising ending.” — NPR
“Intriguing premise… [a] thoughtful debut.” — Publishers Weekly on The Office of Mercy
“An action-packed novel of fascinating ideas…. Serious, entertaining, and seriously entertaining.” — Charles Yu, National Book Award-winning author of Interior Chinatown, on The Office of Mercy