Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Alaska fiction

We have two new novels from Southeast Alaska authors David Vann (Caribou Island) and Lynn D'Urso (Heartbroke Bay).
OK, so technically, David Vann is not a Southeast Alaska author - he's a professor at the University of San Francisco.  But he was born in Alaska, he did spend part of his childhood living in Ketchikan, and many of the stories in his acclaimed 2010 collection Legend of a Suicide are set in the local area.  So we'll just go ahead and claim him as one of our own.  His new novel is set on the Kenai Penisula and tells a story that will resonate strongly with many Alaskans: a couple bucking the elements trying to build a cabin in the middle of nowhere as their marriage slowly disintegrates, their dreams and wants slowly diverging.   Expect the same sort of bleak, compelling, emotionally charged atmosphere that Vann created so well in his previous work.
Lynn D'Urso is a Juneau-based writer (who has written some very interesting Alaskana books under his real name, Lynn Schooler).  His first novel, Heartbroke Bay, is based on a fascinating incident from Alaska's gold rush history.  An English maid working off her father's debts is bored with her life, and elopes with a prospector on his way to the gold fields in Alaska.  Overwhelmed by the reality of Alaska (always a tough location for newbies), they team up with three other prospectors with interesting stories of their own and end up in Lituya Bay.  From there, things go rapidly downhill.  This is a page-turning story that has gotten good reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. 

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