Three weeks to read Ordinary Wolves

Heads-up: three weeks until our online book club, when we’ll discuss Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner. It’s not too late to order a copy or start reading the one that’s been sitting on your shelf for months. (If you’re like me, you have a TBR pile dozens-thick and a heart full of good intentions. Me personally, I usually need a nudge, deadline, or book club date to tackle many books, just because there are so many crying out to be read!)

A little background on the novel:

In 2004, Kanter told a PW interviewer he was inspired to write the novel based on his experience of growing up in a northern Alaska that is “greatly changed by progress.” He says, “The Alaska that I knew as a kid is gone.” The novel is autobiographical in the sense that the Alaska of boy narrator Cutuk mirrors that of Kantner’s youth. Is it a story of man vs. nature? “If I had to have a theme, that would be it—and racism,” says Kantner. Cutuk’s story chronicles his family’s migration from Chicago, the death of his mother and his relationship with an Inupiaq family, all set against the Alaskan tundra. “It’s going from a simple land-based way of life to this heap of technology dumped around you and trying to figure it out,” Kantner notes.

The PW review glowed: “In the small but growing genre of ecological fiction, the great challenge is to balance political and environmental agendas with engrossing storytelling. This riveting first novel sets a new standard, offering a profound and beautiful account of a boy’s attempt to reconcile his Alaskan wilderness experience with modern society.”

1 thought on “Three weeks to read Ordinary Wolves”

  1. I just finished my reread of Ordinary Wolves, and my impression remains: hauntingly beautiful. Don’t miss it.

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