- Hardcover: 294 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Books (June 3, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565123166
- ISBN-13: 978-1565123168
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 445 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska Hardcover – June 3, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Lende chronicles the various lives and deaths of the people of Haines, Alaska, an almost inaccessible hamlet 90 miles north of Juneau. In writing her social and obituary columns for Haines's Chilkat Valley News—some of which are included here—she blends reportage and humor. Lende has lived in Haines all her adult life and is well-known in town. She deftly illuminates local color: the sewer plant manager who rides a motorcycle and sports a ZZ Top beard, the high school principal who moonlights as a Roy Orbison impersonator, and the one-legged female gold miner. Lende covers death in her community in all its forms—accidental, intentional and inevitable—and notes, "writing about the dead helps me celebrate the living." While comic, the book also has some sensitive, insightful anecdotes. For example, Lende, a contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, portrays the building of a coffin for a beloved mother by her youngest daughter; the sinking of a family boat with a tender farewell for a fearless fisherman; the mourning of a quirky, civic-minded "aging hippie"; and the goodbye to a Texas woman who hosted an annual Mississippi blues party. Lende's picture of an Alaskan small town is colorful and captivating. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
^BWife, mother, and obituary writer Lende lives in Haines, Alaska (pop. 2,500), a town without a stoplight, hospital, or home mail delivery. Haines has been called "the real Northern Exposure^B" and the town is certainly full of colorful characters: the tattooed Presbyterian pastor, the Roy Orbison-impersonator school principal, and a self-described "domestic goddess," to name a few. As a reporter, Lende knows just about everyone in town, and each chapter profiles a birth, wedding, or death. The author has a real gift for eulogy; she knows that every life contains something to admire, honor, or illuminate. And the people are Haines: by the time the profiles are finished, the reader has a good idea of what it's like to live among the varied citizens (and the moose, sea lions, and bears) of Haines, in the shadow of a glacier. Lende's quiet voice resonates long after the book is finished. Rebecca Maksel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Ms. Lende writes the obituary column for the local paper and that forms the basis for much of the book. She usually interviews friends and family of the deceased so that the obituary is a very personal reflection of their life, unlike the typical obituary I usually read that is a stark outline of funeral arrangements or (at the other extreme) a long, rambling narrative put together by the family which tends to focus on small details and are of little interest to the community at large. Ms. Lender's obituaries serve as a memorial to a life lived and also document small-town living as well. The single-topic chapters are prompted by thoughts or events that cause some reflection on the part of Ms. Lende and are wonderful snapshots into living (and dying) in general.
As with any book, the perspective is that of the author and will not be shared by everyone reading the narrative. It's not a scientific analysis and (while seemingly balanced to this reader) it reflects the perspective of the writer. It's a memoir, not an academic analysis.
One of my favorite books of all time, I now own a paper copy as well as an e-copy. Definitely one to savor, enjoy, and re-read.
Each chapter is written in two parts: excerpts from the social diary 'Duly Noted' that she writes for the local newspaper, and a follow-up expansion purely for the book. One chapter I particularly liked was devoted to her attempt at making her favourite egg salad sandwich from entirely home-grown ingredients against a multitude of interruptions:
'This, finally, is how you make the perfect egg salad sandwich: boil two eggs,rise them in cold water, and peel them. Add some half-and-half, a pinch of salt, and ground pepper. Mash it all up with a fork and spread it on toasted sourdough bread...Lay on lettuce leaves, then a thick slice of tomato. Spread some mayonnaise on the other piece of toast and place it on top. Cut it diagonally; put it on a china plate, next to a cloth napkin next to a cup of hot tea. Take a deep breath and say a little private grace.' - Location 1853
I particularly liked Lende's honest style. Many of her items were taken from the obituaries she also writes for the paper. A religious mother of about 6 children, Lende practises what she preaches, and is heavily involved with all aspects of Haines' community life.
This extract from her article describing a wedding:
'We cried because we were happy, and because people we loved were happy, and because we were all happy in love together. Only adults weep with joy.
Children don't. They haven't learned how rare moments of true happiness are.' - Location 2372
Heather lives in Haines, small-town, Alaska. It would take more than a pry-bar, or a stick of dynamite, to make her change locations. "If you lived here, I'd know your name," she writes, with blunt veracity.
Heather lives with eulachon (hooligan-grunion) runs, wild moose visitors, grounded mail delivery planes in the winter, and bedside church choirs.
The only road leading out winds through Canada. Four hours to White Horse (in good weather), then Canadian customs and 120 miles to Haines Junction, in the Yukon Territory. I smile, recalling two times when we stopped in Dawson Creek on our road trips to Alaska. The Alaska Highway stretched ahead and we were fool hardy adventurous. 1500 miles of gravel could shred tires. Sixteen wheelers with friendly drivers going up the mountains became speed freaks without parasails, tires throwing gravel at windshields, coming down the other side.
Heather has a bit of Heaven on Earth, and she is lucky enough to appreciate that fact, and share it. With all the highs, there are also dark, scary, lonely times. Cabin fever sets in unless you are prepared with your own talk radio show. Most of the Lower Forty-Eight do not realize what they have missed. Enjoyed the read. I love the hooligan. Have had them smoked and fried. Half the fun is going out with buckets to scoop them off the beach on a full moon in May. Thanks.