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The Last Light Breaking: Living Among Alaska's Inupiat Eskimos Paperback – August 1, 2007


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The Last Light Breaking: Living Among Alaska's Inupiat Eskimos + A Place Beyond: Finding Home in Arctic Alaska + Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books; Reprint edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088240458X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882404585
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Last Light Breaking by Nick Jans A Phenomenal Work of Literary Artistry I’ve read a number of books artfully crafted by Nick Jans – The Grizzly Maze and A Wolf Called Romeo – to name two of my favorites. I recently had the opportunity to read Nick’s first book, The Last Light Breaking. I savored this journey into the lives of the Inupiat people of Ambler, Alaska – a people who, according to Jans, 'move within the eddying currents of time, space and light – where the laws of physics seem to float freely, compressing and expanding, refusing logic.' This book is an anthropological treasure. Yet – it’s much, much more than that. For the naturalist, the outdoors person, wildlife biologist – and those who simply enjoy a damn fine artist (Jans) and the tales of his time in a place that most will never journey remotely close too – It’s a fantastic read! The characters, creatures, culture and challenges of living in a remote village like Ambler provide a wide and diverse audience with every element essential to invigorating the readers interest – and a yearning to return to the volume to continue enjoying Jans literary artistry. Buy it. Savor it. Learn. Listen. Prepare to perceive the world around you in a unique and precious way." —BillDahl.net

“A fresh wonderful new voice, all the more alive against the grave and ancient background of Inupiat tradition, wildlife, and the waiting landscape.  I much admire The Last Light Breaking.”

        --- Peter Matthiessen, author of  The Snow Leopard and At Play in the Fields of the Lord

From the Publisher

With the eye of an outdoorsman and the heart of a poet, Jans weaves together the twenty-three essays of THE LAST LIGHT BREAKING with strands of Inupiat Eskimo narrative, making vivid the remote and wild arctic. Jans creates unforgettable images of a proud people facing an uncertain future, and of his own journey through this haunting, timeless landscape.

Hailed as one of the best new books about Alaska when it was first released in 1993, THE LAST LIGHT BREAKING is now one of the classics of Alaska literature.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By pullrich on February 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This collection of essays are the author's descriptions and reflections on aspects of life in rural Alaska. It's not a story of pioneering or stone age lifestyles, as the title "living among the eskimos" might suggest. Rather, Jans gives a vivid picture of how the lives of rural Alaskans are like a collision of the old and new worlds. It is a world of snowmachines, TV, and basketball, and caribou hunting. Nick Jans lived in the villages of northwest Alaska for decades. The reader benefits from his sense of the most striking or moving experiences he has collected and his perfect, crystal clear prose. I came away with the sense that Jans loves Alaska and when you read the book you can feel it yourself. I also highly..HIGHLY recommend his more recent book that incorporates stunning photography with essays.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jonathon Lever on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
When I first ordered this book, I was looking for an ethnography of the Inupiat. I didn't look that closely at the description of the book, but since it had a five star rating, I still bought it. The day it arrived, I started reading it and found at that what I received was not what I was expecting...however I still couldn't put it down. Jans' stories of life with the Inupiat, are amazing.
While it isn't a traditional ethnography, Jans still gives some amazing insight into the lives of the Inupiat. His descriptions are colorful and entertaining while still giving a sense of the seriousness of the intrusion of mining and modern culture on the traditional subsistence of the Inupiat. There is a degree of fear as to what will happen to them as society marches onward into the remote regions of Alaska and provides a sense of urgency of protection for these people.
If you are remotely interested in what life is like above the arctic circle, get this book. Don't think about it, just get it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Keith Snyder on July 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This February, I was sitting in the library at the Selawik school -- just above the Arctic Circle, population 700; I was there as part of a program that sent authors to the Alaskan bush -- and I asked the librarian for a book recommendation. She went straight to THE LAST LIGHT BREAKING. I leafed through it and then bought it when I got home.
My favorite piece in this collection is "Beat the Qaaviks," Jans' account of an Arctic basketball game, but they're all excellent. I'm hoping to return to Selawik, and to take a friend with me. I gave him THE LAST LIGHT BREAKING to whet his appetite.
If you're reading this, you're already thinking about buying the book. Just buy it. It's great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Dahl VINE VOICE on October 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
A Phenomenal Work of Literary Artistry

I've read a number of books carefully crafted by Nick Jans - The Grizzly Maze and a Wolf Called Romeo - to name two of my favorites.

I recently had the opportunity to read Nick's first book, The Last Light Breaking. I savored this journey into the lives of the Inupiat people of Ambler, Alaska - a people who, according to Jans, "move within the eddying currents of time, space and light - where the laws of physics seem to float freely, compressing and expanding, refusing logic."

This book is an anthropological treasure. Yet - it's much, much more than that. For the naturalist, the outdoors person, wildlife biologist - and those who simply enjoy a damn fine artist (Jans) and the tales of his time in a place that most will never journey remotely close too - It's a fantastic read!

The characters, creatures, culture and challenges of living in a remote village like Ambler provide a wide and diverse audience with every element essential to invigorating the readers interest - and a yearning to return to the volume to continue enjoying Jans literary artistry.

Buy it. Savor it. Learn. Listen. Prepare to perceive the world around you in a unique and precious way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Celloteacher on January 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After 25 years I finally went back to University this year to complete an Anthropology Masters Program I started decades ago.
I am focusing my thesis on the Inupiat in Anaktuvik Pass, Ak, and ordering as many books as I can on traditional Alaska. This book has a lot of anecdotal information even though it does not follow standard academic footnoting and sources. It is an excellent window into life in the northern regions of Alaska, and on the Inuit culture in general. Even if you are not in academia, but interested in how people survive in sub zero environments where they still rely on hunting caribou to exist, this is a good read.
Not all of us choose to live in apartments and condos, and those who live in the Arctic tundra can teach most of us how to survive in a harsh region without modern conveniences. The book also deals with the loss of traditional values some of the small villages are facing now that snowmobiles have replaced dog teams and satellite TV and the internet are driving young people to cities never to return to their native villages. A good read from someone who knows his subject well. Charles, Front Royal, Va.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fern Amper on January 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This charming book of brief anecdotes and memories, gives a glimpse into the Eskimo culture that is very rare indeed. While todays young Eskimos apparently are losing their connection to their past and their culture, the author truly falls in love with the old ways in this very difficult environment. He is the visitor who never really leaves, and he is happy to share his vivid adventures.
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