Synopses & Reviews
The Alaskan landscape - so vast, dramatic, and unbelievable - may make it easier to believe that something or someone greater is in charge. Haines resident Heather Lende wonders whether that's why people in her town (population 2,400) so often discuss the meaning of life. She thinks it helps make life mean more.
Lende, who writes the local obituary column and has been called part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott by the Los Angeles Times, revealed in her first book a deep awareness of what links all humanity. Since then, she was run over by a truck in an almost fatal accident and has had a few more reasons to consider matters both spiritual and earthly. In Where God Resides we meet the community that helped her get back on her feet: the eccentric, fiercely independent, always fascinating residents of Haines-Buddhists, bear hunters, Tinglit Indians, and her large, lively family. We follow Lende as she attends her small Episcopal church, cares for her mother, wonders how to forgive the driver who hit her and how not to faint with joy as she finally walks down to the beach for her daughter's wedding. By the time we reach a certain age, most of us have been hit by trucks, in one way or another, and Lende shows us that our responses to those setbacks have everything to do with faith.
"Shortly after the publication of her first series of dispatches from 'Small-Town Alaska,' If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, obituary writer and Anchorage Daily News columnist Lende got run over by a truck: 'The back tire of the new king-cab, three-quarter ton Chevy pickup rolled right over my lap.' In this collection of mordant but largely uplifting pieces, Lende recalls that near-fatal bicycle accident, and her slow return to health with the help of doctors, therapists, family, and friends. While considering the big questions of life and death, Lende introduces an eclectic cast of characters from a town of just 2,400, including Wilma Henderson, a 'formidable farmwife and Presbyterian elder' who believes in 'praying with your feet'; and Fireman Al, officially the volunteer fire department's training officer, but also the guy who responds to nearly every ambulance call. Though Lende indulges occasionally in mindless tangents, her charming style will keep readers attuned to her celebration of love, faith, and healing in a far-flung, tight-knit community." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"The book is full of vivid characters . . . [Lende] has a simple, chatty style most readers will find oddly comforting. Life does, in fact, go on." --Los Angeles Times
"Lende writes emotionally but never sentimentally, giving us the best Alaska memoir of late, maybe the best ever." --Booklist (starred review)
"Here is the real thing - good old-fashioned American values coming from small-town Alaska. In a cozy chatty voice, Heather Lende tells stories of life in Haines, Alaska . . . Accepting life and rejoicing in the world are her preferred modes of thinking and feeling. She quotes with approval from Emerson, 'the proper response to the world is applause.' " --Boston Globe
"Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs
is about her community and her family, the supporters who helped her get back on her feet with love, compassion, faith and humor . . . her writing style is crisp and clear." --Seattle Times
"Lende has a knack for subtly illuminating the remarkable in the commonplace, the transcendence in tragedy . . . Her voice, which alternates between folksy and formal, playful and prayerful, entertaining and elegiac, is reminiscent of Garrison Keillor, Krista Tippett, Tom Bodett, Kathleen Norris and Anne Lamott." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
Lende, who has been called part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott by the "Los Angeles Times," revealed in her first book a deep awareness of what links all humanity. Here, she shows that how individuals respond to setbacks has everything to do with faith.
The Alaskan landscape--so vast, dramatic, and unbelievable--may be the reason the people in Haines, Alaska (population 2,400), so often discuss the meaning of life. Heather Lende thinks it helps make life mean more. Since her bestselling first book, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, a near-fatal bicycle accident has given Lende a few more reasons to consider matters both spiritual and temporal. Her idea of spirituality is rooted in community, and here she explores faith and forgiveness, loss and devotion--as well as raising totem poles, canning salmon, and other distinctly Alaskan adventures. Lende's irrepressible spirit, her wry humor, and her commitment to living a life on the edge of the world resonate on every page. Like her own mother's last wish--take good care of the garden and dogs--Lende's writing, so honest and unadorned, deepens our understanding of what links all humanity.
About the Author
Heather Lende has contributed to the Christian Science Monitor
, NPR's Morning Edition
, the New York Times
, the Washington Post
, and Alaska
magazine. She also writes an online column for the Alaska Dispatch