Seth Kantner, Ordinary Wolves (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2004)
This semi-autobiographical novel is a masterpiece of description of life, culture and even language of the remote areas above the arctic circle of just a few years ago. It is clear that the world is changing and that the impact of contemporary culture on the people of the arctic is dramatic. Kantner captures both a sense of how it has been and of the dramatic changes in a single generation. He describes an Alaska about which it is easy to become nostalgic even it one has not experienced what he has seen.
His descriptions of places and people are masterful and his explanations of Inupiat language gives one a sense of the original language as well as the pidgin English that some people speak. All in all the book weaves a lot of culture into a wonderful tale - a coming of age story that is unique not only due to the setting, but also due to the characters that inhabit the tale.
Kantner is a gifted novelist and with this book has definitely become an author to watch.