Correcting the Landscape
By Marjorie Kowalski Cole
HarperCollins Publishers, Hardcover, 9780060786069, 228pp.
Publication Date: January 2006
List Price: $23.95*
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Gus Traynor is the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Fairbanks, Alaska. His idealism has been consistently tested but remains mostly intact, and he prides himself on his independence of spirit. As he says, "I won't be kept inside any building I don't want to be in." So when big business threatens the awe-inspiring Alaskan wilderness that he holds dear, Gus calls for support from his best friend, an often self-serving developer who helps Gus take on the forces of progress.
As Gus investigates the best ways to preserve the dignity and heritage of his community, he learns more than he's ever known about the region's colorful mix of opportunists, dreamers, and artists. But when a young woman's body turns up mysteriously in a river, he also learns that he may be falling in love with the colleague who is helping him report on the local happenings.
A thought-provoking statement on the threat to the environment and the attrition of native cultures, Correcting the Landscape is also an old- fashioned novel driven by a beautiful setting and a group of flawed but eminently likable characters. The winner of the Bellwether Prize, which honors socially and politically engaged fiction, this compelling work marks the arrival of a dazzling, courageous new talent.