Friday, January 18, 2008

Authentic Alaska?

I'm not exactly the doyenne of Alaska, but I've lived here over half my life and I have a certain amount of skepticism when anyone from Down South purports to have written a book about the 'real' Alaska. New York resident Stephen Foreman has been a university professor and Hollywood screenwriter, but according to his author bio, has actually "trekked across the Alaskan wilderness". His recent novel - Toehold - is set in a small town in the Interior which is populated with a variety of wacky characters. Simmering romantic tension between the local taxidermist and a pugnacious, but beautiful, hunting guide is brought to a head when her first customer turns out to be an obnoxious Hollywood producer. Personally, I think the whole thing sounds very similar to Northern Exposure (which I didn't find particularly authentic, either), but perhaps I am too judgemental. We have this new story in both paperback and audio format, and I would love to have people read and/or listen, and then post their opinion of the work. Is it an enjoyable romantic comedy? A great hunting story? An evocative portrayal of small-town life in Alaska? Have you known - or even been - characters like this? Think of this as an informal, low-key book discussion group. Check it out and let me know what you think.......tell me I'm being a picky grump who should just lighten up and enjoy a fun story. Or tell me you're tired of people taking a 2-week vacation in the Rail Belt and deciding they know the real Alaska. Wadda ya think?

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