In Extremis and Other Alaskan Stories

Jean Anderson, Author Plover Press $9.95 (121p) ISBN 978-0-917635-07-6
Alaska, with its midnight sun, seemingly endless winter and vast stretches of isolated land, is a main character here, playing subtle but key roles in each story of this superior first collection. In ``Parting Out,'' a professor's middle-aged wife sits at her breakfast table, her thoughts jumping from the facts of her marriage to fantasies of her husband's unfaithfulness. But even with her disturbing inner visions, it is the winter scene outside the window that transfixes her. In ``Vreelund,'' a transplanted Alaskan attends a memorial service for a friend, a mountain climber: he was ``most truly Alaskan. . . . In his whole-hearted love of astonishment. In his wild-eyed willingness to create the outsized heroic gesture.'' The mother of toddler twins in ``Distance'' discovers that the climate is not her harshest foe, when tragedy compels her to recall ``the bravery she and her husband had needed to travel so far together, into this land whose very extremity was the thing she loved and wanted.'' A pioneer charting frontier, Anderson surveys both the exotic terrain and the readily recognizable natives. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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