Survival: Stories

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 15 stories, Alaska looms as a presence that variously is vast and claustrophobic, dangerous and freeing, exhilarating and depressing. A long-time resident frets over and envies a newcomer whose hunger for wild and solitude defies common sense. Elsewhere, an aging hippy tries to woo his estranged daughter with moosemeat pizza and bleached pelican skull knickknacks, but she's a creature of civilization's comforts, committed to Walkman music and double-scoop ice-cream sundaes. Her husband is away drilling for oil and a resentful wife must cope alone with an erupting volcano; a woman leaves the bush for Anchorage and abandons a friend in the process; a miserly recluse wins the lottery; and a thief discovers his girlfriend can kill without remorse. The prose here is pleasantly understated, the tenor of Alaskan existence often is transmitted (``You don't live in a small Alaskan town for the job you can get; you do whatever job you can in order to be able to live in such a place.'') and many descriptions, such as shrimp processing in an Alaskan cannery, are authentically rendered. But hampered by obvious and trite plotting, the collection doesn't rise above merely competent. A commercial fisherman in Alaska, Lord wrote The Compass Inside Ourselves. (Apr.)
Library Journal
The cold, the majesty, the isolation, the escape from a world that is closing in too tightly--it is all here in this haunting collection of short stories set in Alaska. Alaska is known for its characters, and Lord presents quite a variety in these stories of survival. In the title story, a long-time resident watches as a newcomer is overcome by a sense of isolation she is unprepared for. In ``Volcano,'' a woman homesteads alone two weeks of every four while her husband works at oil drilling; though she must contend with fires, storms, and even a volcano erupting during her days alone, her husband cannot appreciate the hardship of her life. A newspaper reporter breaks out of his boring routine in Baltimore to travel to Anchorage for the Iditarod race after interviewing ``The Lady with the Sled Dog.'' As Eric, a wanna-be Alaskan, says in ``Snowblind,'' ``Some of us need Alaska, even if it's only in our minds.'' Lord's stories deserve a wide readership.-- Debbie Tucker, Cin cinnati Tech Coll., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780918273840
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1991
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 0.47 (d)

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