Saturday, June 7, 2008

Seth Kantner

His first book - Ordinary Wolves - received rave reviews and has been mentioned as one of the finest works to ever come out of Alaska. Readers were captivated by his descriptions of Bush Alaska, descriptions that would only sound authentic coming from someone who actually lives there and understands the lifestyle. Seth Kantner has just come out with a memoir of his life in the Arctic, growing up amongst bitter cold, caribou, a close family, and miles of untouched wilderness. Rather than a boring litany of dates, places and 'milestones', Shopping for Porcupines is actually a series of reminiscences - stories of playing with other children, learning how to hunt, trap and fish, raising his own family on the tundra, and the people he has met along the way. What really makes this book wonderful are the photographs. The one that struck me most was an image of the author - about 6 years old, I think - peeling bark off spruce slabs. I think Kantner's childhood must have been very similar to young boys 150 years ago. You grew up helping out, being part of the workings of the family, and your contributions were valuable. Dangers of the Arctic aside, it seems a remarkably healthy way to grow up.
We are very excited to have Mr. Kantner return to Ketchikan (he was here in February to talk about Ordinary Wolves). He will be giving a talk at 6:30 pm on Monday, June 9th, and in addition to his wonderful stories there will be glorious photographs to see. Due to anticipated turnout, this presentation will actually be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center, rather than our tiny library where we are too cramped for space to host this event. So be sure to mark the time and place on your calendar, and come hear this fascinating, authentically Alaskan author.

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