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Alaska or Bust and Other Stories

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Alaska or Bust and Other Stories. Funny, serious, quirky – the reader is taken off the beaten path on a sub-Arctic journey where the land is larger-than-life. Meet Luke, who, with his high-running libido turns Nordstrom’s in Fairbanks upside down; Chuck, a city mongrel gets lost in the wilds of Alaska; Daphne, a vaudeville performer in Dawson City, re-enacting the wild and Alaska or Bust and Other Stories. Funny, serious, quirky – the reader is taken off the beaten path on a sub-Arctic journey where the land is larger-than-life. Meet Luke, who, with his high-running libido turns Nordstrom’s in Fairbanks upside down; Chuck, a city mongrel gets lost in the wilds of Alaska; Daphne, a vaudeville performer in Dawson City, re-enacting the wild and crazy gold rush days of 1898, captivates her audiences with her really big nose; Less, a corrections officer in Juneau, is confronted with domestic abuse; Giorgio, from Venice, Italy, cycles up the Alaska Highway and gets mauled by a bear. Some of the stories are true; some of them are only partly true.


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Alaska or Bust and Other Stories. Funny, serious, quirky – the reader is taken off the beaten path on a sub-Arctic journey where the land is larger-than-life. Meet Luke, who, with his high-running libido turns Nordstrom’s in Fairbanks upside down; Chuck, a city mongrel gets lost in the wilds of Alaska; Daphne, a vaudeville performer in Dawson City, re-enacting the wild and Alaska or Bust and Other Stories. Funny, serious, quirky – the reader is taken off the beaten path on a sub-Arctic journey where the land is larger-than-life. Meet Luke, who, with his high-running libido turns Nordstrom’s in Fairbanks upside down; Chuck, a city mongrel gets lost in the wilds of Alaska; Daphne, a vaudeville performer in Dawson City, re-enacting the wild and crazy gold rush days of 1898, captivates her audiences with her really big nose; Less, a corrections officer in Juneau, is confronted with domestic abuse; Giorgio, from Venice, Italy, cycles up the Alaska Highway and gets mauled by a bear. Some of the stories are true; some of them are only partly true.

42 review for Alaska or Bust and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ramona

    This is a series of linked stories that take place in the Alaska and Yukon region. Some are funny and some are serious and some are both. I particularly enjoyed the Carcross Parrot, recounting the days of the Klondike goldrush in the late 1800s. There are a lot of varied characters in the book, the backdrop is wild and beautiful, and the history of the region is really interesting. Would recommend!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Valevicius

    This anthology of short stories is first, for me, a breathtaking adventure of beauty! The setting of northern Canada's Yukon Territory and the state of USA's Alaska play front and centre roles as characters in this book of twenty-five, well-developed mini sagas: "Here in the wild, life existed in its purest form," thinks one traveller from Florence, Italy. A musician from Montreal, turning twenty-one, Chloe travels to Dawson City to celebrate her birthday, to watch the majestic nature of the midn This anthology of short stories is first, for me, a breathtaking adventure of beauty! The setting of northern Canada's Yukon Territory and the state of USA's Alaska play front and centre roles as characters in this book of twenty-five, well-developed mini sagas: "Here in the wild, life existed in its purest form," thinks one traveller from Florence, Italy. A musician from Montreal, turning twenty-one, Chloe travels to Dawson City to celebrate her birthday, to watch the majestic nature of the midnight sun on the twenty-first of June. The author's descriptions offering a sense of place and history are spectacular. Chloe and friends "decided to hike up to Midnight Dome. To stand on the metamorphic rock 2,900 feet above sea level...The entire Klondike Valley came into view, and with its pastel tone and perfect balance it looked almost like a watercolor landscape. Splashes of light and silhouettes could be seen dancing on the river, and great mountain ranges, dotted here and there with blue-green forest, stretched far and wide...any second now and the sun would set and rise in the same spot, off by barely half an hour." As a reader, I was awe struck. (Readers respond in such personal ways.) I deepened my thoughts and had a bit of a 'road to Damascus experience' about what I just read. Odrach provides a wonderful variety of original stories which end up universal in theme. Peppered with people who struggle to fit-in, are misunderstood, and doing their best, life in the north is as challenging in a human sense as life is anywhere. Often you take who you are with you. There's no escaping or hiding from one's thoughts. Teacher, "Mr. Brown processed the world differently...he did not blend in with the norm...for the first time he was scared...mostly scared of himself." We watch the mental breakdown of a sensitive guy. My favourite story, however, which had me laughing and then weeping is about a rescue dog named Chuck. I can say without any hyperbole, this unforgettable piece is simply a masterpiece! Just try to read it, and watch your emotions get out of whack. Surprises everywhere. A writer to watch! A book to take on vacation for an adventure story a day! You need to own it in physical form and mark up your favourite paragraphs. That's what I did, and know just where to look for that jolt of inspiration which I get from such fine writing!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Kaye

    I will start by saying that I admire the attempt. However, I found this collection fell short. The stories all ended abruptly or resolving everything in a nice little bow in a matter of a few sentences ("Two Old Friends"). They read to me like poorly constructed human interest stories in a periodical. There were nuggets of history about the Yukon/Alaska forced into the dialogue making it feel like a mother hiding vegetables in the meal of a picky eating child. Even without the history lessons cra I will start by saying that I admire the attempt. However, I found this collection fell short. The stories all ended abruptly or resolving everything in a nice little bow in a matter of a few sentences ("Two Old Friends"). They read to me like poorly constructed human interest stories in a periodical. There were nuggets of history about the Yukon/Alaska forced into the dialogue making it feel like a mother hiding vegetables in the meal of a picky eating child. Even without the history lessons crammed into dialogue, most of the time it was clunky and awkward. Unless they're lecturing, people usually don't talk in paragraphs like they did here. Finally, another round of editing would have helped in the spelling department ("Houlden [Caulfield]," "unskilful"). Again, this is better than anything I could write, but I wouldn't recommend this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Clara

    I really enjoyed reading Alaska or Bust. I visited the Yukon last summer, which is right beside Alaska, and a lot of the stories took me back and made me feel as if I was still there- the wilderness, the abundant history, the quirky people. The stories were all very different but nuanced together to create a very eloquent and interesting story. I enjoyed the depiction of the rugged Alaska Highway in one of the pieces and of Dawson, a small town that was once flooded by the Gold Rush, in another I really enjoyed reading Alaska or Bust. I visited the Yukon last summer, which is right beside Alaska, and a lot of the stories took me back and made me feel as if I was still there- the wilderness, the abundant history, the quirky people. The stories were all very different but nuanced together to create a very eloquent and interesting story. I enjoyed the depiction of the rugged Alaska Highway in one of the pieces and of Dawson, a small town that was once flooded by the Gold Rush, in another. It is a book that will easily fill you with insight and nostalgia, even for places you've never yourself been.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christa Wojo

    I've never explored this part of the world, so learning about the lives of people in the Alaskan/Yukon area was fascinating. It's clear that it's a wild and challenging place and, judging by these stories, it's also a hub for oddballs, outsiders, and adventurers. Each character in this book comes to this remote corner in search of something–revenge, freedom, challenge, refuge, work. There are lighthearted anecdotes as well as darker tales, each written with care. This is a fun variety of short s I've never explored this part of the world, so learning about the lives of people in the Alaskan/Yukon area was fascinating. It's clear that it's a wild and challenging place and, judging by these stories, it's also a hub for oddballs, outsiders, and adventurers. Each character in this book comes to this remote corner in search of something–revenge, freedom, challenge, refuge, work. There are lighthearted anecdotes as well as darker tales, each written with care. This is a fun variety of short stories with something for everyone. Alaska or Bust might even make you think about moving to Alaska.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Good collection of short stories. I felt the author loved the country she was writing about. Admittedly, half way through the book I felt the need of a break and I read something else before going back to read the second half. However, it was an enjoyable read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rita M. Scholl

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ali

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dave Allen

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erma Odrach

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  12. 5 out of 5

    Frank Beghin

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erma Odrach

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  17. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  18. 4 out of 5

    Haven

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kim Myers

  21. 4 out of 5

    Todd Rumsey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann Ellis

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cory

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie Haskett

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Obrien

  28. 4 out of 5

    Towandajane

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shana M. Essig

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  31. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  32. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  33. 4 out of 5

    Ted

  34. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Foster

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  36. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  37. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  38. 5 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  39. 4 out of 5

    Mary Nee

  40. 4 out of 5

    D

  41. 4 out of 5

    frugalitymom

  42. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

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