Grant Sims Leaving Alaska

ISBN 13: 9780871134769

Leaving Alaska

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9780871134769: Leaving Alaska
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A fine account of natural & human history & culture observed over five years. Fine writing. Environmentalists will need to read Sims. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Sims's personal Alaskan journey, detailing the Exxon Valdez spill and culminating in his decision to leave when his Alaskan dream had become too stark even for him. Sims went to Alaska in 1982 at age 37 in search of intimacy with the land. Drawn to the Alaskan frontier by its deep natural beauty and its inherent solitude, he glories in the demands it places on his physical self while nurturing his creative one. Affiliated with a university there, Sims explores the wilderness- -bushflying, fishing, hiking, canoeing, rafting, and mingling with a variety of folks who thrive on the same challenges he does. He meets and marries his current wife, and they have a son. But when a small boy accidentally dies because his parents are too drunk to notice he's missing and then a malevolent hunter carelessly or otherwise threatens Sims's life, a dark side to his experience begins to emerge. He is already becoming disillusioned by the time the Exxon Valdez spills millions of gallons of oil into Prince William Sound on Good Friday, 1989. The Valdez incident and its aftermath, including the transformation that hundreds of millions of dollars for cleanup and the subsequent endowment fund had on towns and people, eventually tarnishes the pristine image too much. The long winter darkness has become too oppressive, and Sims takes his family back to the lower 48 in search of warmer human connections. While Leaving Alaska has many insightful passages and provides a detailed account of the Valdez disaster, as a whole it is indulgently impressionistic and disjointed in structure, with people and incidents weaving in and out of the narrative without context. Ultimately, this book frustrates the reader trying to see the big picture through Sims' eyes, and limits the scope of that vision. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Taken together, these two books will give one a good idea of Alaska's past and an illuminating view of its present. A companion volume to the editors' earlier Alaska: Reflection on Land and Spirit (LJ 3/15/89), The Great Land is an anthology of writing about Alaska from a wide range of 20 writers, past and present. The earliest piece is a study of the Aleuts by Ivan Veniaminov, who went to Alaska in 1823. Wyatt Earp's wife, Josephine, presents a recollection of one of her three trips to Alaska with her husband. Several pieces are translated from the various Alaskan languages. In general, the collection is not thematic but covers the many parts of this large state. A solid choice for public libraries. Sims, in his work, provides a well-written story of fascinating personalities. A magazine writer, Sims left Alaska to live in Oregon (hence the title), but he did so with misgivings. The story is not so much about him as it is about the Alaskan people and their struggle with the environment and those who would destroy it. The work is not a polemic but an almost journalistic effort, in the best sense, written with style and an understanding of the issues confronting the native peoples, the Alaskans, and outsiders who visit. Essential for public libraries.
George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, Pa.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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