Welcome to the

Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

About Me

My photo
Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, January 16, 2014

North to Alaska

Somewhere West of RoadsSomewhere West of Roads by A.E. Poynor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Despite lengthy travels throughout the U.S. the only two States I have not yet reached are Alaska and Hawaii. When I saw this book's subtitle--An Alaskan novel --I was intrigued. Reading the synopsis of the plot further interested me since I, a city girl ( NYC) had relocated to a rural, deep freeze winter area ( boonies of Vt). Though the main character of the book, John Barstow, made his move from LA to Nikiski under very different circumstances, I was curious if there might be some similarities to my experiences with such a drastic life style change. So, I entered to win a copy to read and review.

Upon opening the book for the first time I was greeted with a stanza from a Robert Service poem. Oh, I thought, I'm going to love this book. And I was not disappointed. John, a recovering alcoholic, whose most recent relationship with a live-in girlfriend has gone South, is fired from his job as a life insurance salesman. Going to a bar, though he's been sober awhile, he winds up in a brawl, gets his eye blackened, is tossed into a cab with a surly cabbie and arrives to his almost bare apartment and a letter from a lawyer in Alaska.

Seems his uncle, whom he barely remembers, has died and he is Hardrock's only legal heir. There are a couple of choices he can make--take a trailer in Alaska and $50,000 and be happy, or take over a tourist mining operation for a season and make a profit and all is his. Last Chance Adventures is a fly-in, that is West of Roads, as in there are NO ROADS. At the lawyer's insistence he gets the almost next plane out of LA to check out the options. He is to see the place, meet the staff, the accountant etc and make his decision. He opts to take the shot at making a mining operation, about which he knows nothing, a go.

The characters he meets, Doorway, Harley, Maggie, Cynthia, Wes,Reeder, Billy McCrane and my favorite, Dawg are so well developed I felt as though I'd recognize every one of them should I ever walk into the Shuttle Inn for breakfast. How they help, hinder, aggravate, teach, ensnare John is a wonderful story. How Hardrocks set up the trust to lead John to the place where the business will be saved is just perfect.

Once upon a time, a fellow with whom I'd broken up about ten times, called and left the message on the answering machine "There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold!" and hung up. Recognized the voice, did not know Robert Service poetry, but we reunited and have been married almost thirty years. The book ends with this stanza from The Cremation of Sam McGee. McGee was from Tennessee so you see, John, Sam and I are all nuts--moving to a place where winter lasts 6 months, snow is sometimes thigh high and walking on snowshoes is a trick. The book is as much a keeper as that husband of mine. Both are terrific.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment