Spotlight on Alaska Books: Coming into the City by Elise Patkotak

I asked a friend who recently
moved to
Anchorage from
Barrow how long it took before the urge to buy 10 cases of paper towels every
time he shopped at Costco wore off. He said it had been over nine months since
he left the Bush and that moment had not yet occurred for him.

As I approach the final few
weeks of my life in Barrow, I find myself wondering more and more how I will
adjust to life in a place with not only multiple choice shopping, but the ready
availability of goods. I will no longer have to keep that running list on my
refrigerator entitled, “Things to buy in
”. I
will no longer plan my medical appointments to coincide with when I will run
out of enough stuff to make a Costco run worthwhile. (Coming Into the City,
Elise Patkotak)

After spending 28 years living
in the Inupiat Eskimo community of Barrow, Elise Sereni Patkotak decided it was
time to return to the big city.  Since
York City
, the place she’d left so long
ago, seemed a bit scary after living in a state with a population less than
that of
Brooklyn, she
chose to move to
Anchorage and
gently get back into life amidst coffee stands, malls, fresh produce and
highways.  The transition was not always

This book is a look back at the
ten year adjustment she made to wearing bras, experiencing a sun that actually
brought heat and watching her parrots discover the feeling of going outside and
not freezing to death.  It is also a
series of ruminations on life as she found it now that she is entering what she
likes to refer to as “extreme middle age.”

 “It’s hard to understand how a Jersey girl
fell in love with the chill, remote, and yes-it’s-always-dark-in-winter Arctic
coast of
Alaska. Fortunately,
Elise Patkotak does her irreverent, witty best to explain why snow is better
than Sinatra, and why small-town
Alaska trumps
the casinos every time.” –Carol Sturgulewski, author of White House of the

“You can take the girl out of
Arctic, but
you can never take the
Arctic out of
the girl, and this book proves that. Thanks Elise for your friendship and all
you did for us in Barrow.”—Ben Nageak, member, Alaska House of Representatives

Elise Sereni Patkotak was
born many years ago into a much kinder and gentler world, raised and taught by
nuns in the Italian immigrant neighborhood of
, NJ
. She
is now a recovering Catholic.

Elise lived in Barrow for
28 years working many different jobs, such as a nurse, columnist, with Guardian
Ad Litem and more. She now lives in
Anchorage with
five parrots, a cockatoo and a very nervous little dog that thinks all the
birds are vying for his stuff. She is a columnist with the Anchorage Daily News
and the author of Parallel Logic, the story of her years in Barrow.

Coming Into the City was
published by the small writing/graphics co. she owns, Precious Cargo, Ltd. You
can purchase her book in soft cover for $16.95 from Todd Communications at
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