Friday, July 14, 2006

Flight of the Goose

Lesley Thomas’s first novel, Flight of the goose: a story of the far north, is set in the fictional village of Itiak on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula. There, Kayagtuk, an Athabascan orphan girl adopted by an Inupiaq family, "falls in love with ornithologist Leif Trygveson, who has come north in 1971 searching for a flock of endangered tallingeese" and to flee the draft and the Viet Nam war. This book has received universally favorable customer reviews at (i.e., a “Romeo and Juliet of the arctic!"). See another review here. Does anyone know what a tallingoose is?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jim

This is the author of "Flight of the Goose". Thank you for your interest in my novel! The reviewer didn't write the name correctly of the bird - it should be "Tallin's goose" It is a fictional goose, loosely based on Canada/brant/emperor but realistically reliant on the coastal salt marshes of the Bering Strait and Chukchi areas of NW Alaska. I grew up there with Inupiaq Eskimo subsistence family members, and later went on to study arctic ecology and do field research on the effects of oil spills on such vital migratory bird habitat. My "birdman" in the novel is based on my colleagues who counted "goose poops" and were the object of amusement by the locals. Though not a professional ornithologist, I study bird science and bird lore, and weave science and indigenous shamanistic themes into my novel. "Flight of the Goose" is popular with birders in Seattle and Alaska (where the book, published by a very small press, has largely been sold since it was released in 05). It has been endorsed by ornithologist Dr. George Divoky of arctic warming fame, who was written up in the NYT in a article "Divoky's Planet". We've presented together - my novel as the "human side of climate change in the Arctic". Famous anthropologists, Native Alaskans (some who hunt birds to feed their families) and shamans also endorse the novel, which recently won a national award. For more info please see my website

July 18, 2006 10:32 PM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

Dear Lesley:

Thank you for contacting me with information about the meaning and origin of "Tallin's goose." Your novel attracted my attention because I lived in Alaska for 18 years, during which time I worked as a bird biologist for a Federal agency, mostly in southern coastal areas from Attu to Sitka and all points in between. Worked on seabirds mostly, but also Aleutian Canada Goose, which involved collecting poop!. I also had the opportunity to make several summer trips to interior Alaska and the North Slope to help band large numbers geese (Canada's, White-fronts, and Brant), so I already feel a strong spiritual attraction to your book. I have great professional respect for George Divoky, so his endorsement of your book means a lot. I'm going to have to go online and buy a copy today so I can read it for myself!

Best regards,


July 19, 2006 8:43 AM  

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