Devil’s club is mentioned very briefly in The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, when Tara shows Connor the sights of Port Anna. “She led him to the bank, holding back thorny branches of devil’s club.” There’s really no other mention of the plant in the book, or any indication of what it is. From what […]

Alodiks are mentioned several times in And She Was by Cindy Dyson, as being a type of Russian fry bread. Brandy is first introduced to them by Carl who makes them for the party at his bus home. They are also served at the tsunami party, and mentioned in one of the flashback scenes with […]

I started thinking about how food enhances setting while I was reading The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, and that, pretty quickly, made me remember a food moment from And She Was by Cindy Dyson – the decayed seal flipper. There’s a scene in And She Was where Brandy and some of the others from […]

The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones (2016) is a pretty good book, and a great one for getting into the setting of Alaska. The title comes from one of the supporting characters, Newton Scarpe, called Newt, who is just chock full of colorful metaphors (sadder than a midget with a yo-yo; clean as a broke-dick […]

In The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, the old Tlingit man, Betteryear, teaches the protagonist Tara to gather wild mushrooms and other items, which they use to make a meal together. There are some beautiful passages from this part of the book, describing the food and how it is made, which really bring the setting […]

As I read The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, I came to a wonderful passage about a meal that Tara and the old Tlingit man, Betteryear, make from the wild mushrooms they have gathered. I realized that this was an example of the kind of detail that makes the setting of a book real–much as […]

Since one of the main characters – that of Sophie, Colonel Allen Forrester’s wife – is an amateur naturalist and interested in birds in particular, To the Bright Edge of the World is a treasure trove of bird sightings. Moreover, there are a number of birds that play important roles in the story, both recurring […]

In To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey, one of the main characters, Sophie, discovers she is pregnant. She has mixed feelings when she learns of her pregnancy. She and her husband, Colonel Allen Forrester, are thrilled, however the doctor seems worried and refuses to give her any information other than telling […]

I like the novelty of a story told through letters, photos, journals, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia.┬áTo the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey (2016) is such a book, and it’s wonderfully done. It’s mostly centered in 1885, switching back and forth between the journals of Colonel Allen Forrester and his wife Sophie […]

I’ve been trying to find pictures of some of the artifacts mentioned in To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey, and one of the most important – the moose-hide tunic given to the leader of the expedition, Colonel Allen Forrester, by one of the most powerful chiefs (or tyones) of the region […]