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If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name : News from Small-Town Alaska
Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air-and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace and funerals are a community affair. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for her local newspaper. If anyone knows the going-on in this close-knit town-from births to weddings to funerals-she does. Whether contemplating the mysterious death of eccentric Speedy Joe, who wore nothing but a red union suit and a hat he never took off, not even for a haircut; researching the details of a one-legged lady gold miner's adventurous life; worrying about her son's first goat-hunting expedition; observing the awe-inspiring Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival; or ice skating in the shadow of glacier-studded mountains, Lende's warmhearted style brings us inside her small-town life. We meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local lumber yard; their five children; and a colorful assortment of quirky friends and neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fishermen, native Tlingit Indians, and volunteer undertakers-as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land. Like Bailey White's tales of Southern life or Garrison Keillor's reports from the Midwest, NPR commentator Heather Lende's take on her offbeat Alaskan hometown celebrates life in a dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful place.
"Absorbing and reflective." - Library Journal "Written with ease and empathy, this is both about maintaining a household in alaska and about being at home in the world....Homespun warmth in a cold climate." -Kirkus Reviews - Kirkus Reviews "Part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott…NPR commentator Heather Lende…subtly remind[s] readers to embrace each day, each opportunity, each life that touches our own and to note the beauty of it all." - Los Angeles Times "Lende offers touching stories about neighbors with whom she shares wedding celebrations, potluck dinners, tears for missing fishermen-all the joys and sorrows of family life in a remote town." - People Magazine "Written with ease and empathy, this is both about maintaining a household in Alaska and about being at home in the world." - Kirkus Reviews "Who knew a writer could find so much human drama, simple pleasure and thorny issues in such a remote place? If you like the stories on Prairie Home Companion or Northern Exposure, you'll love some real news from small-town Alaska." - USA Today "Dense and powerful…Tiny jewels that, gathered together, create a stunning effect of pure, dazzling light." - The Grand Rapids Press
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March 28, 2006
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