Far Alaska (Hardcover)

By Mason Smith

Graybooks LLC, 9781935655275, 256pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2012



Mocked and ridiculed in his North Country home for being unable to change with the times, a stubborn, ignorant old man lights out for Alaska at 72, taking with him the daughter of a skinflint farmer he has worked for years back. Clarence knows little of women or of living with anybody or even of living in the present tense, nor does he really know where Alaska is. But he's given up self-respect and good conduct, he's on the road across Canada in a pickup truck with a fat and talkative person, determined to sin at last and going into a land he knows only in folk-ballad, the Wild West and Klondike confused. As Clarence and Hesther journey farther and farther toward far Alaska, their partnership blossoms. They astonish themselves (or at least Clarence) in bed. She proves to be a barrel-racer in disguise, a shaman and a mischief, game for anything, while Clarence pushes ahead, surprising them both as he expands with the territory. His long-imagined West comes alive with bank robbery, horse theft, Indians, grizzly bears, trouble in a saloon, gunfire and gold and moral choices. And, when they finally get there, one more gal than you're allowed back in the lower forty-eight.