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Ordinary wolves
Seth Kantner
Adult Fiction KANTNER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In the small but growing genre of ecological fiction, the great challenge is to balance political and environmental agendas with engrossing storytelling. This riveting first novel sets a new standard, offering a profound and beautiful account of a boy's attempt to reconcile his Alaskan wilderness experience with modern society. Abe Hawcly came to Alaska in search of his bush-pilot father, became enraptured with the wilderness, then moved there with his wife to live in a sod igloo and subsist on his hunting skills while he pursued his painting. Soon disenchanted with isolation and hardship, his wife abandoned him, leaving him to rear and educate their three children. Abe's youngest child, known by his I?upiaq name, Cutuk, grows to manhood and learns to hunt, gaining an intimate knowledge of the frozen tundra. Eventually, Cutuk's brother, Jerry, escapes to Fairbanks, and his sister, Iris, attends college and becomes a teacher. Meanwhile, torn between two cultures, Cutuk chafes under discrimination as a white in the midst of Native Americans; he is deprived of both rights and respect by the locals. He also develops a profound curiosity about the city, but once he makes it to Anchorage, he is bewildered and confused by urban slang and modern mores. His attempts to reconcile himself to his own race fail dismally as he is drawn back to the north and the values inherent in the wilderness ("I shook my head, trying to align the years, the Taco Bells, exit ramps, rabid foxes, and this old pot"). Though Cutuk's gnawing angst occasionally grows tedious, this is a tenderly and often beautifully written first novel. As a revelation of the devastation modern America brings to a natural lifestyle, it's a tour de force and may be the best treatment of the Northwest and its people since Jack London's works. Agent. Sydelle Kramer at the Frances Goldin Agency. (May) Forecast: Early buzz-the novel has been selected for Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers Program and highly praised by Barbara Kingsolver ("exotic as a dream, acrid and beautiful and honest as life")-an author tour and BEA appearance should help put Kantner on the map. His own story, which is similar to Cutuk's, makes him an attractive interview prospect. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In poetic detail, first novelist Kantner captures the rhythms and textures of life out beyond civilization in northern Alaska. The narrative follows Cutuk Hawcly from the early 1970s, when he is five years old and living in the remote Alaskan outback, through his mid-twenties, as he travels to Anchorage for a brief and disorienting interlude, to his return to the far north. The plot is driven by Cutuk's hunt for a mysteriously vanished old hunter who had presented him with a talisman carved from mammoth ivory and his efforts to establish a relationship with a woman named Dawna, with whom he has been in love since they were children. Cutuk feels himself an outsider, distanced not only from modern civilization but also from his own society as a minority white person in the middle of Inupiak culture. The real depth of the novel is provided in the many scenes of a lone human out on his own in the frozen wilds, hunting caribou, stalking wolves, riding either a dog sled or a "snowgo," and dealing with an icy and forbidding environment that is nevertheless in many ways more amenable than contemporary urban America. Recommended for all collections.-Jim Coan, SUNY Coll. Lib. at Oneonta (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Cutuk Hawcly
Male
White
Lives with his brother, sister and father in an igloo in remote Alaska.

Dawna Wolfgloves
Female
Inupiat
Daughter of a legendary hunter.



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