Synopses & Reviews
Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air — and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace, and funerals are community affairs. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for the local newspaper. If anyone knows the goings-on in this close-knit town — from births to weddings to funerals — she does.
Whether contemplating the mysterious death of eccentric Speedy Joe, who never took off his hat — not even for a haircut; researching the details of a one-legged lady gold miner's adventurous life; observing the Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival; or ice skating in the shadow of glacier-studded mountains, Lende's warm, folksy style brings us inside her busy life.
We meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local lumber yard, their five children, and a colorful assortment of friends and neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fisherman, native Tlingit Indians, and volunteer undertakers, as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land.
"If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name tells readers several stories, some Lende's own. She writes of the five children she raises in Haines...of her race down the hazardous mountain road to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, before her son's appendix burst. Others chronicle the town and its people." Seattle Times
"The author has a real gift for eulogy; she knows that every life contains something to admire, honor or illuminate...Lende's quiet vice resonates long after the book is finished." Booklist
"Lende paints a picture of life in a unique setting and writes thoughtfully about her life, family, faith, neighbors and small town conflict... [An] absorbing homage."
"Written with ease and empathy, this is both about maintaining a home in Alaska and about being at home in the world...Homespun warmth in a cold climate"
"This is something tender and brave using death as introduction to lives and loves and fabric of community in a northern town. Heather Lende provides powerful witness."
Seth Kantner, author of Ordinary Wolves
" Heather Lende is deeply attuned to the simple, the quirky, and the quietly profound elements that compose a life well- lived, and she writes of them with grace and good humor. When, now and again, your reading is interrupted by tears, they will be the sweet sort."
Michael Perry author of Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time
"These are true tales of ordinary people who do extraordinary things with (and to) one another in one of the most beautiful backwaters on Earth."
Tom Bodett, author of The End of the Road stories and Norman Tuttle on the Last Frontier
"Heather Lende is the perfect frontier guide clear-eyed and big- hearted, tackling family and community and life and death with humor and hope."
Stewart O'Nan, author of Faithful
"Heather's rendering of a place and its people is so honest, so intimate and so perfect....It's what, I think, we all want from life."
Craig Popelars, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
"Part Annie Dillard, part Anne Lamott, essayist and NPR commentator Heather Lende introduces readers to life in the town of Haines, Alaska . . . subtly reminding readers to embrace each day, each opportunity, each life that touches our own and to note the beauty of it all." --The Los Angeles Times
Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air--and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace and funerals are a community affair. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for her local newspaper. If anyone knows the going-on in this close-knit town--from births to weddings to funerals--she does.
Whether contemplating the mysterious death of eccentric Speedy Joe, who wore nothing but a red union suit and a hat he never took off, not even for a haircut; researching the details of a one-legged lady gold miner's adventurous life; worrying about her son's first goat-hunting expedition; observing the awe-inspiring Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival; or ice skating in the shadow of glacier-studded mountains, Lende's warmhearted style brings us inside her small-town life. We meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local lumber yard; their five children; and a colorful assortment of quirky friends and neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fishermen, native Tlingit Indians, and volunteer undertakers--as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land.
Like Bailey White's tales of Southern life or Garrison Keillor's reports from the Midwest, NPR commentator Heather Lende's take on her offbeat Alaskan hometown celebrates life in a dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful place.
About the Author
Heather Lende writes for Haine's Chilkat Valley News and is a frequent contributor to the Christian Science Monitor and NPR's Morning Edition. Her column for the Anchorage Daily News was awarded the 2002 Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award by the Alaska Press Club.