Correcting the Landscape

Marjorie Kowalski Cole, Author . HarperCollins $23.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-06-078606-9

The publisher of a Fairbanks, Alaska, weekly newspaper finds himself tested by matters of love and money in Cole's resolute first novel. Gus Traynor has run the Mercury for 15 years, aided by his fiery sister, Noreen, but these days costs are up and ad sales are down. The paper's difficulties come at a bad time for Gus, a likable and sometimes reluctant gadfly who, after many years of bachelorhood, finds a new reason to fight for his paper's longevity: part-time journalist Gayle Kenneally, a single mother from the native village of Allakeket whose thoughtful, unhurried self-possession capture Gus's attention and ultimately his heart. In Gus, Cole has crafted a sympathetic, winning everyman with a believable mix of pragmatic and contemplative impulses. Cole's attention to an ongoing litany of town issues, on the other hand—the debate over a controversial book; a logging bill—never come alive, but read instead as a lackluster strategy to ratchet up tension. The novel's characters, and their tentative, fully felt interactions in the service of building friendships and love—especially Gus's nervous, endearing, faltering attempts to get closer to Gayle—are at the story's heart, and propel it forward with quiet force. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-06-198608-6
Paperback - 228 pages - 978-0-06-078607-6
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