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Gaining Daylight was given a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly!

Gaining Daylight: Life on Two Islands

Sara Loewen. Univ. of Alaska, $15.95 trade paper (140p) ISBN 978-1-60223-198-6

Loewen’s compilation of lyrical essays, written in “fragments of time over the last several years,” is a slim volume capable of enduring echoes. Loewen and her family live in Kodiak, Alaska, much of the year, but “leave every May for the salmon season, moving to… Uyak Bay on the west side of the island.” For half the year, she writes, they give up “fresh produce, telephones, cars, dryer, and dishwasher.” It’s a life Loewen looks at from a distance, sometimes wishing she was “an Alaskan who lives outside of Alaska,” while she wonders what it is, exactly, that keeps people there. As winter fades, she describes spring as “a teasing, mercurial girl… [who] will break my heart tomorrow with a gale or a snowstorm.” Loewen’s essays are exquisite slices of life in which she describes the patient, silent wait for the birth of her second son, reminisces about her childhood friend and their stories of Old Harbor, and watches as the corpse of a freshly dead whale approaches shore. This solemn, spare book is an intimate and loving look at a life that very few people live, so rich with detail and emotion that its handful of photographs are almost superfluous. (Feb.)Reviewed on 02/15/2013 |