Tuesday, May 22, 2007

“a deep rich novel”

I wrote two earlier pieces about Lesley Thomas’s Flight of the Goose (see here and here), a novel that should be of interest to birders and naturalists because of the central role that birds and other wildlife play in the everyday lives of the people portrayed.

Thomas provides an honest and vivid portrayal of life in northwest Alaska in 1971, before the advent of the Alaska Pipeline and the Alaska Native Lands Settlement Act brought profound changes, and not necessarily for the better. It is a story of people and their intimate relationships to fish and wildlife, and to the land and the sea that nourishes them all. And it is a story about the improbable inter-cultural relationship that develops between Gretchen, a young Alaskan Native orphan, and Leif, a white ornithologist who has come to the arctic to study an endangered goose.

Just this month, Colleen Mondor, a reviewer of books at bookslut.com, compared Flight of the Goose favorably with Seth Kantner’s Ordinary Wolves (reviewed here by Gerry Rising). Mondor concludes her review thusly:
Two honest books about Alaska in two years, maybe literary times are changing for the Last Frontier. Maybe, just maybe, everyone is finally ready to set all those old comfortable myths aside. Flight of the Goose is certainly another step in the right direction, and a deep rich novel that will leave readers eager for more of the truth about the 49th state.
So, if you want to get a glimpse of what Alaska is really all about, pick up a copy of Flight of the Goose and set aside some quiet time to allow yourself to be absorbed into the entrancing blend of mysticism and realism that characterizes Thomas’s prose.


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