'I've not read anything that so captures the contrast between the wild world and our ravaging consumer culture. Ordinary Wolves is painful and beautiful'.. Louise Erdrich.
A stirring and vivid novel about a white boy raised among natives on the harsh Alaskan tundra, Ordinary Wolves depicts a life different from what most people have ever known. In its pages, Cutuk, a boy equally uncomfortable in the ways of whites and Inupiaq, tells of his youth and young adulthood: of his father, who brought his family to Alaska from Chicago before Cutuk's birth; of his adopted Inupiaq family; and of the vast Arctic expanse beneath the frozen sky. It is here that Cutuk grows up - hunting, fishing, and living off the land, far away from the grinding, yet beckoning, machine of consumer culture. Dispelling all mythical visions of Alaska, this evocative novel leads readers down its true trails, to feel the icy pinch of cold, to hunker as blizzards moan overhead. And in the twilit spaces from which animals appear are the wolves - and Cutuk's father - living their lives out on the tundra, unobtrusive, unapologetic, uninvolved in the world beyond.
BookBrowse Note: The following Inupiaq words appear in this excerpt:
IN THE BAD MOUSE YEAR-- two years after magazines claimed a white man hoofed on the moon--Enuk Wolfglove materialized one day in front of our house in the blowing snow and twilight of no-sun winter. His dog team vanished and reappeared in the storm. Abe stood suddenly at the window like a bear catching a scent. "Travelers!" He squeezed out his half-smoked cigarette, flicked it to the workbench, wiped ashy fingers on his sealskin overpants. We kids eyed the cigarette's arc--we could smoke it later, behind the drifts, pretend we were artists like him.
"Poke up the fire?" Abe grinned like an older brother, our best friend, no dad at all. "And hide the vanilla." His head and broad shoulders disappeared as he ...
Ordinary Wolves makes Jack London's Call of the Wild look positively bland; Seth Kantner is the real thing; whereas London wrote most of his books about Alaska while living in California, Seth Katner was born in a sod igloo on the Alaskan tundra and raised simply on the land––wearing mukluks before they were fashionable, eating boiled caribou pelvis, and communing with the native Eskimos of the region.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (254 words).
In the interview that you can read at BookBrowse, Seth Kantner says that Jack London's writing did influence him to become a writer; however he goes on to say that 'London said when you spat or pissed it crackled and froze before it hit the ground. It never did that when I was a kid––it got to 78 below one time and it never did that!'
If you liked Ordinary Wolves, try these:
Award-winning Canadian author Kathleen Winters Annabel is a stunning debut novel about the family of a mixed-gendered child born into a rural hunting community in the 1960s.
An epic Chinese tale in the vein of The Last Emperor, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols - the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world - and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf.
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