cover image Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories

Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories

Melinda Moustakis. Univ. of Georgia, $24.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8203-3893-4

In this sharply-crafted debut collection, Moustakis invites readers into a world filled with gruff characters, breathtaking wilderness, and a fierceness of spirit as crisp as the Alaskan winter. Though there's little room for tenderness among the men and women who populate her vignettes, Moustakis has an ear for dialogue and uses the space between the notes to convey complexities. Whether her characters are attempting to rescue a bird from an outhouse, exploring the remnants of a plane crash in the forest, or merely trying to land a salmon, she infuses them with humanity. Her portraits of the men who drink too much and the women who stick with them are more than mere stereotypes; she avoids easy characterizations, giving small gestures greater weight. The gifted Moustakis' attention to detail and blunt, sharp prose will surely resonate with readers and fellow writers alike. (Sept.)