Bear Down, Bear North

Stories by Melinda Moustakis

Reviews

"In this sharply-crafted debut collection, Moustakis invites readers into a world filled with gruff characters, breathtaking wilderness, and a fierceness of spirit as crisp as the Alaskan winter . . . The gifted Moustakis' attention to detail and blunt, sharp prose will surely resonate with readers and fellow writers alike."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The Kenai is the lifeblood that flows through Moustakis’ arrestingly concise, subtly poetic, and piercing short stories about several generations of an extended family."
Booklist (starred review)


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Description

In her debut collection, Melinda Moustakis brings to life a rough-and-tumble family of Alaskan homesteaders through a series of linked stories. Born in Alaska herself to a family with a homesteading legacy, Moustakis examines the near-mythological accounts of the Alaskan wilderness that are her inheritance and probes the question of what it means to live up to larger-than-life expectations for toughness and survival.

The characters in Bear Down, Bear North are salt-tongued fishermen, fisherwomen, and hunters, scrappy storytellers who put themselves in the path of destruction—sometimes a harsh snowstorm, sometimes each other—and live to tell the tale. While backtrolling for kings on the Kenai River or filleting the catch of the Halibut Hellion with marvelous speed, these char­acters recount the gamble they took that didn’t pay off, or they expound on how not only does Uncle Too-Soon need a girlfriend, the whole state of Alaska needs a girlfriend. A story like “The Mannequin at Soldotna” takes snapshots: a doctor tends to an injured fisherman, a man covets another man’s green fishing lure, a girl is found in the river with a bullet in her head. Another story offers an easy moment with a difficult mother, when she reaches out to touch a breaching whale.

This is a book about taking a fishhook in the eye, about drinking cranberry lick and Jippers and smoking Big-Z cigars. This is a book about the one good joke, or the one night lit up with stars, that might get you through the winter.

Series/imprint:
Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Page count: 176 pp
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5

To order, please visit your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

Hardcover
List price: $29.95
978-0-8203-3893-4
9/15/2011

Paper
List price: $19.95
978-0-8203-4490-4
10/1/2012

Ebook
List price: $18.95
978-0-8203-4189-7
9/15/2011
Check ebook availability


Melinda Moustakis was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and raised California. She received her MA from UC Davis and her PhD in English and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. In addition to winning the Flannery O'Connor Award, her book Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories won the Maurice Prize, was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Conjunctions, Cimarron Review, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She was named a 2011 "5 Under 35" writer by the National Book Foundation and is currently a 2012–2013 Hodder Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.