Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Surviving the Island of Grace

I recently came across this book in the used section of the Armchair Sailor bookstore in Seattle. It was written by a college classmate of ours. There weren’t very many married couples at Cedarville, so we quickly got to know she and her husband, Duncan. There is one interesting connection to Duncan. He was inadvertently responsible for us attending Cedarville College. He happened to be flying to Ohio from Alaska one year and sat next to my dad, who flying to Chicago. Dad was impressed with this ‘Calvinistic’ Baptist young man. That set us on a course to drive across country and attend Cedarville, sight unseen. The book by Leslie is a well written memoir of her journey of transition from a New England teenager to summer set gillnetting fisher on a remote island off from Kodiak, Alaska. For thirty summers, she and Duncan have returned to the Shelikof Strait to set nets and pick salmon for endless hours in harsh conditions. Leslie tells her story with skill and candor, as she relates her struggles to adapt to a life of near solitude and primitivity.

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