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The public image of Alaska for those who live elsewhere tends to be bound up with the outdoors. But while that’s not necessarily false, it’s far from a complete picture. This collection of stories shows us what we’re missing. Set in Alaska’s cities and suburbs, homes and back roads, cars and kitchens and bedrooms, it offers not only tales of adventure, but quietly powerful psychological dramas, private triumphs and failures of personal life played out in an extraordinary place.
Jean Anderson delicately balances the lyrical and the experimental to tell the stories of hardworking Alaskans—teachers, laborers, dental hygienists, artists—worrying over fairness and equity and meaning, falling in and out of love, and pondering elusive, long-dreamed-of goals. Powered by a rich empathy, Human Being Songs shows us life in Alaska as it’s actually lived today—its successes, failures, and moments of transcendent beauty.
Jean Anderson is the author of In Extremis and Other Alaskan Stories and coeditor of Inroads, an anthology of regional Alaska fiction.
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