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Flight of the Goose: A Story of the Far North    by Lesley Thomas order for
Flight of the Goose
by Lesley Thomas
Order:  USA  Can
Far Eastern Press, 2005 (2005)

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Flight of the Goose is a compelling story of the harsh far North, engrossingly told through the voices of a young native woman and a whiteman scientist in the 1970s.

Leif is sent to the village of Iniak on the Bering Sea to study the long-term effects of oil spills in the Arctic, while he also looks for signs of the almost extinct Tallin goose. Gretchen, or Kayuqutuq, is an orphan raised by an Iniak family as their own. She comes from a very troubled and brutal past and believes herself to possess qilya powers those of a shaman. Theirs is a very powerful love story. One that transcends the harsh climate, as well as the displeasure of the Iniak villagers at the coming together of two cultures they believe will never understand each other.

The story is almost incidental to the beauty of the prose. But the story is so powerful that it pulls you in and won't let go. Leif and Gretchen fight long and hard with their backgrounds to be as one. Their misunderstandings are so thoroughly thought through that readers can place themselves in the picture and understand both the lovers' philosophies. Readers can also place themselves in the cold north, hiking on the tundra, hunting on the sea, and watching the ice break up in the spring as well as form in the fall.

Ancient folklore abounds. It catches the imagination and could well fill a book of its own. Flight of the Goose is a stunning first novel - I finished this wonderful book wanting more.

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