When Seth Kantner’s novel, Ordinary Wolves, was published 10 years ago, it was a literary revelation of sorts. In a raw, stylized voice it told the story of a white boy growing up with homesteading parents in Arctic Alaska and trying to reconcile his largely subsistence and Native-style upbringing with the expectations and realities tied to his race. It hit numerous bestseller lists, was critically acclaimed, and won a number of awards.
Seth’s nonfiction second book, the memoir Shopping for Porcupine, was even more compelling for many readers—the same raw details of a homesteading upbringing, but intensely personal. Now, in Swallowed by the Great Land, he once again brings us into his lyrical wilderness existence.
Swallowed by the Great Land features slice-of-life essays that further reveal the duality in the author’s own life today, and also in the village and community that he inhabits—a mosaic of all life on the tundra. Unique characters, village life, wilderness and the larger landscape, a warming Arctic, and hunting and other aspects of subsistence living are all explored in varied yet intimate stories.