Synopsis - Alaska or Bust
Alaska or Bust is a series of linked stories offering a glimpse into the lives of people living in a harsh, unforgiving climate, some by choice, others out of necessity. The book is about traveling off the beaten path and surviving in a captivating yet hostile wilderness. The book is about experiencing twenty-four hour sunshine in the summertime and near complete darkness in the winter. It is about the spirit of a people and their love of the land and how their love of that land brings them and holds them all together.
Set in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, the stories contain a wide spectrum of humorous and/or serious themes and all are based on actual events and real people. Included is not only the very rich history of the area – the Klondike Gold Rush, Russian colonization, the Yukon River, Aboriginal peoples – but also the beautiful and austere landscape. Each story uses clear imagery to establish a strong sense of place and the characters are nuanced to construct an intriguing narrative arc. As lives unfold, people discover love, defeat, victory, betrayal, desire; some quarrel amongst themselves, others fall in love, while still others set off into worlds of their own.
The following are examples of some of the stories: a man travels to Whitehorse in search of his childhood abuser; Giorgio, a fancy Italian tourist cycling up the Alaska Highway, gets mauled by a bear; a man has a high-running out-of-control libido and turns Fairbanks upside down; a math teacher with OCD escapes to Alaska; a therapist of Aleut-Russian ancestry with a practice in Anchorage ends up burning out and seeking help ‘Outside’; a parrot living in Carcross dreams of breaking free of his caged existence; a vaudeville performer in Dawson City amuses her audiences with her unbelievably big nose; Les, a corrections officer in Juneau, suffers abuse at the hands of his wife; Dottie loses her battle with Alzheimer’s; Chuck, a city dog gets lost in the wilds of Alaska; four foster kids escape their group home and canoe down the Yukon River.
Alaska or Bust brings the northwest corner of the North American continent to life. The land is raw and beautiful and there is magic and unpredictability everywhere. It takes the reader on a sub-arctic journey, where the landscape is not only larger-than-life but where people live life on the edge. Alaska or Bust puts you in the heart of a vast unspoiled, wilderness; it puts you in the heart of the Last Frontier.