Flight of the Goose

 

An award-winning tale of cultural conflict, spiritual awakening, redemption and love in a remote arctic village at time when things are – to use the phrase of an old arctic shaman – “no longer familiar.”

 

1971, the Alaskan Arctic.

Orphan Kayuqtuq, “the red fox”, seeks respect in her traditional village through the outlawed path of shamanism. Her plan leads to tragedy when she interferes with scientist Leif Trygvesen, who has come to research the effects of oil spills on salt marshes – and evade the draft.

 


 

“The story took my breath away. I wept my way through it, identifying profoundly with both protagonists. (Thomas) has a fine grasp of the complexity of human relations and culture in such a village. She also writes beautifully. A remarkable book altogether.” ~Jean L. Briggs, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland and author of Never in Anger

“Memorable….One of the best novels of Alaska that I have read. With the author’s unerring knowledge of anthropology and social and environmental issues, it could fit any rural Alaskan village.” ~Dorothy Jean Ray, author of A Legacy of Arctic Art, and The Eskimos of Bering Strait 1650-1898

 

  • FIRST PLACE, National Federation of Press Women Communications Award
  • FIRST PLACE, Washington Press Association Communicator of Excellence in Fiction Award
  • FIRST PLACE, Alaska Press Women Communications Award
  • FINALIST, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award

 

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INSPIRED BY ALASKA
Lesley Thomas dog sledding as a child

Lesley Thomas dog sledding as a child

Thomas grew up in Arctic and Southeast Alaska and on a small farm on the Salish Sea. Her multicultural family blends indigenous and “outsider” traditions. To write her stories, Thomas draws on her lifelong roots in Alaska’s wilderness and rural communities and what her elders and nature taught her firsthand.


Thomas studies prolifically for her work — arctic salt marsh oil spills, cultural diversity, history, nature, biology. She’s lived and worked worked overseas, and now lives in Seattle. She flies home to Nome often to visit beloved family and climb the high hills.

Lesley Thomas dog sledding as a child

Lesley Thomas dog sledding as a child

The Confessional

We asked & our authors answered…


Lesley has been known to…imitate the calls of birds, wolves and farm animals

Things she likes…mythology, science, and feathers

She’ll never get caught…outrunning a bear

A favorite/line expression and where it’s from: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth” ~A Few Good Men

Alaskans she most admires: Dolly Spencer, Harold Napoleon, Velma Wallis

Favorite Alaska places:  Seward Peninsula, fishing hamlets of Southeast Alaska, her mom’s fish camp at Cape Nome

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Book & Author

Author Lesley Thomas

Lesley Thomas grew up in the Arctic in a multicultural family from ancient and new traditions. Her elders taught her to live off the land. From their stories and the lessons taught by observing nature, Thomas grew into a natural storyteller.

1971, the Alaskan Arctic. “It was a time when much was hidden, before outsiders came on bended knee to learn from the elders. Outsiders came, but it was not to learn from us; it was to change us. There was a war and a university, an oil company and a small village, all run by men. There was a young man who hunted geese to feed his family and another who studied geese to save them. And there was a young woman who flew into the world of spirits to save herself…”

So relates Kayuqtuq Ugungoraseok, “the red fox.” An orphan traumatized by her past, she seeks respect in her traditional Inupiaq village through the outlawed path of shamanism. Her plan leads to tragedy when she interferes with scientist Leif Trygvesen, who has come to research the effects of oil spills on salt marshes – and evade the draft.

Told from both Kayuqtuq’s and Leif’s perspectives, Flight of the Goose is a tale of cultural conflict, spiritual awakening, redemption and love in a time when things were – to use the phrase of an old arctic shaman – “no longer familiar.”

Flight of the Goose has been studied at North Slope School District, University of Washington, University of Alaska, Boston University, Sterling College, and others.


Sneaky Peek

HOW DO I BEGIN? It is dark winter. A little girl’s mother is dead — she’s got no father. She struggles against the wind as she pushes a sled filled with ice, which she has chipped from a pond with her thin arms. Her mukluks are old, the fur shedding. Her gloves are not meant for the Arctic. Her parka is old, resewn rabbit skins so thin the gales blow through but just warm enough if she moves fast. The girl is fed last, when the poor parts of game are all that’s left and no fat.

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