Tom Bodett once said that Homer, Alaska was, "the farthest place you could go without a passport." The colorful cast of characters that inhabit this collection of interconnected stories live at the very end of the westernmost highway in North America, driven there by love and loneliness, God and greed. In the shadow of the snow-capped peaks and ancient glaciers, they live out their lives - both comic and tragic - in hopes of getting through just one more day of salmon season.
In this vivid, moving collection, Mark Lewandowski brings us the tough poetry of the Alaskan fishing industry, an end-of-the-world ecosystem of Slime-Line Queens and drunks, Born-Agains and sinners. Like the fish workers he describes, Lewandowski knows how to eviscerate. He peels back his characters' thick skins and removes their still-beating hearts.
If I wanted to listen to the ramblings of pimply faced pubescent teenagers, I could listen in on my kids phone conversations for free. I don't want to be responsible for contributing to the delinquency of a minor either. This guy thinks he is Jack Kerouac, "drinking steady through the afternoon", "if you will". If this guy was really serious about anything, he would have taken a writing class where they would have warned him about using those tired clichés, let alone stuffing his book full of them. I tried, honestly I did. But after 20 minutes, I feel nauseated. Especially after he starts talking about how he abandoned his wife and young child like it is a bade of honor. If this were my kid, I would send him to the Marines to smack some sense into him. But that's not the case, and poor Lewandowski will have to settle for going through life with the mentality of a 13 year old. Is this really all it takes to write contemporary fiction? Perhaps Lewandowski is aiming at titillating the high school crowd.