The Man Who Swam with Beavers: Stories (Paperback)


By Nancy Lord

Coffee House Press, 9781566891103, 251pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2001



"These fresh, startling, wonderful stories deserve a wide readership. I gobbled them up."--Maxine Kumin

"Nancy Lord writes subtly but eloquently about the natural splendors of the state. . . . Survival speaks volumes about the real Alaska, a place where anything goes--but only if you're willing to pay the price." --The New York Times Book Review

"Alaska--wild, grand, still unsubjugated--lives in this book." --The Boston Review on Survival

Inspired by the Native Alaskan myths and legends of her adopted state, Nancy Lord explores the persistent human need for contact with nature in the quietly ironic fables set that make up The Man Who Swam with Beavers. "It is not my intent to appropriate, retell, or improve on the traditional source stories, but to use them as starting points to explore the dilemmas and delights of modern American life." The title refers to a Dena'ina traditional story about a man who lived with beavers, with the moral that all creatures have "their own lives, as complete and legitimate as any others." These wise, charming stories examine individual and collective responsibilities to one another and to the natural world.

Nancy Lord was born in New Hampshire and has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1973, where she writes, teaches creative writing for the University of Alaska, and fishes commercially for salmon. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Antioch Review, Sierra, North American Review, and Manoa. Her books include Green Alaska: Dreams from the Far Coast, Fishcamp: Life on an Alaskan Shore, and Survival.