Tuesday, January 10, 2006 2:36:00 PM
by Lesley Thomas
|Lesley Thomas'' eco-fiction and cross-cultural love story "Flight of the Goose: A Story of the Far North" has captured the attention of Native Alaskan elders and top Alaskan journalists
"Flight of the Goose" released by Far Eastern Press in 2005 has been getting some accolades from the endangered Far North where the timely novel is set. Writes Heather Lende, award-winning Anchorage Daily News columnist:
“Flight of the Goose puts a human face on the much debated issue of oil drilling in Alaska's wilderness. This complex, thought provoking and moving story of the people that live in the far north is a must read for anyone that wants to know more about Alaska than is in the headlines. It should be required reading for Congress.”
-- Heather Lende, Anchorage Daily News columnist and author of If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-town Alaska
And from Nick Jans: "Lesley Thomas has created a dreamlike flow of images and language, impeccably crafted and deeply rooted in an authentic sense of place. I always read first for the music of words, and Flight of the Goose has that, and more. Thomas's first novel brims with promise.”
---Nick Jans, editor of Alaska magazine, author of The Grizzly Maze and The Last Light Breaking: Life Among Alaska’s Inupiat Eskimo"
“A remarkable achievement…Flight of the Goose is a novel about loss and loneliness, alienation and fear, acceptance and forgiveness, the natural and supernatural. Its memorable characters, believable setting, and complex treatment of problems that face us all in a world of unavoidable change and contact, will haunt the reader long after the covers have been closed.”
--- Fred Bigjim, Inupiaq professor and author of "Plants: A Novel", and "Indian and Non-Indian Thinking, Listening and Speaking"
“A truly glorious manifesto...An amazing understanding...When the stories of the ancestors begin, we sit quiet, forego comfort for as long as we must, to learn something powerful, and yet, love every moment of it. This is one of those stories. To be an ambassador between these two worlds is a daunting, even hellish task...even more significant when a non-Native, a naluagmiu, tries to assume this role. However, Thomas seems to be the perfect ambassador.”
--- Jack Dalton, Alaska Native storyteller, writer and teacher, Yup’ik/German
“Haunting...rich with nuance and ambiguity. The theme of star-crossed lovers is as old as any in the world’s storytelling traditions. (Thomas) conjures up a startling new variation in her impressive debut. (She) weaves a strong and complex story (and) conveys authenticity and sympathy. Through it runs an electric current of eroticism. Beyond the strong characters, exotic plot and masterful prose, it challenges our worldview and touches the heart.”
-- Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
“A beautiful and compellinjg story of Arctic Alaska on the edge of the cultural and environmental upheaval...cuts through sentimental notions of Native culture and Arctic wilderness with a clear and powerful honesty. An extraordinary weave of the complexities of culture, environment, family, and - finally - love. Particularly remarkable is Kayuqtuq’s transformation into angutkoq: these passages shimmer like sunlight on sea ice.”
--- Marybeth Holleman, author of "The Heart of the Sound: An Alaskan Paradise Found and Nearly Lost"
“This is one of the best novels of Alaska that I have read...primarily a love story of a man and a woman from different cultures, but it is also a love story of the Earth and of a village struggling to accept the changes of the new economy, subsistence pursuits, spirituality, and the environment...With the author’s unerring knowledge of anthropology and social and environmental issues, it could fit any rural Alaskan village...A most memorable story, one you will want to read again and again. “
--- Dorothy Jean Ray, author of "A Legacy of Arctic Art" and "The Eskimos of Bering Strait 1650-1898"
"Flight of the Goose has been taking off in the Lower Forty Eight as well:
“Memorable and highly recommended...A compelling story told from two perspectives...A tale of cultural conflict, spiritual awakening, redemption, love, and change. Thomas draws upon her own experiences growing up in the Alaskan Arctic in an Inupiat Eskimo village...when weaving a sophisticated story enriched by an impressive personal background (she once researched the effects of oil spills on arctic salt marshes) to infuse realism and accurate detail into this work.”
--- Midwest Book Review (5-starred)
“Unique and beautiful…An absolutely splendid book. It is a great pleasure for me to ‘go’ to places such as Flight of the Goose describes, and to ‘live’ for a time in those environments. Thomas knows her subject very well, and describes it very well, and writes very well, and when all this is put together the result is superb.”
-- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of "Reindeer Moon", "Tribe of Tiger" and "The Hidden Life of Dogs"
“This is an amazing story!! Lesley Thomas is a brilliant writer. She weaves together a love story, a story about life in an Alaskan village, shamanism, spiritual awakening, and deep ecology. I am recommending this book to everyone I know and stocking up on copies for gifts for my friends."
--- Sandra Ingerman, author of Soul Retrieval and Medicine for the Earth
“Beautifully written, original and fascinating… Flight of the Goose is remarkable and I pray there will be other novels bearing (Thomas') byline.”
-- John de Yonge, former editorial page editor and columnist, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“The story took my breath away...I wept my way through it, identifying profoundly with both protagonists...All of the characters are thoroughly believable. The author has a fine grasp of the complexity of human relations and culture in such a village...She also writes beautifully. I was caught up from the first page...A remarkable book altogether.”
--- Jean L. Briggs, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland and author of Never in Anger: A Portrait Of An Eskimo Family
“Not just another ANWR book... (Thomas) takes on spiritual and mystical issues.”
“Unforgettable...Rings as true as bell metal. Gretchen is one of the strongest, most authentic characters I have had the pleasure of encountering in a long time. Thomas tackles some very big stuff—anthropology, myth, gender, science, institutionalized religion, the spirit world, ecology, colonialism, and more—and not only never falsifies but manages to bring them all into a fruitful relationship with each other. She has my admiration.”
-- Eugene Garber, award winning author of "The Historian", "Metaphysical Tales", and "Beasts in Their Wisdom",
and Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of English at U Albany
“Thomas creates a vivid arctic landscape and explores the equally real psychic terrain that is connected to it. This powerfully-written love story draws forth the spirit of the north like the sun pulls vapor straight from ice, arousing a new understanding of what it means to be human.”
--- Kelpie Wilson, environmental editor of Truthout, and author of "Primal Tears"
“Flight of the Goose soars on wings of spirit. An absorbing and fascinating tale, it is a profound celebration of love imbued with a deep respect and reverence for the entire intricate network of life.”
-- Donna Henes, NYC urban shaman and author of "The Queen of My Self"
“Vibrant and genuine...A breathtaking landscape, poignant love story and unforgettable characters delivered with a keen insight into human nature make Flight of the Goose a marvelously good read.” -- St. Andrew’s literary journal The Twig, Seattle
“Thomas’ intimate knowledge of the mystical traditions, lifeways and language of the Inupiat Eskimos helps her create a compelling portrait of a vanishing way of life.”
--- Bellingham Weekly, Earth Day Issue
“A truly beautiful literary achievement…An engrossing tale of two young people finding each other and their way through the troubled times of the Viet Nam era. Global warming and its tragic effect on the Far North have been on our minds these days (and) Flight of the Goose is a great way to expand our knowledge of that remote region…What a landscape this novel brings to life! What a sense of space and time, and what intimate knowledge of the human heart Thomas reveals!”
--- Pacific Vision, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
“A stunning first novel…So powerful it pulls you in and won’t let go. I finished this wonderful book wanting more.”
--- Mary Ann Smyth, BookLoons
“Step into another world…Wonderful…With rich, illuminating prose that displays a quiet respect for nature even in this harsh and forbidding climate, Thomas takes us on a unique journey to find what we all seek: human compassion, trust, a sense of belonging, and of course, love. I hope that this important and touching story makes it to the big screen, and soon.”
--- Catherine Kitcho, Pelepubs
“Turn off the stereo or the television if you have them on when you read. Listen, really listen, to these words as you read them. Beautiful writing, marvelous story, engaging characters. This was my first book of the new year. What a promising beginning!”
--- Donna Dennes, CompulsiveReader
Far Eastern Press