The Raven's Gift Paperback – Jan 25 2011
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“An epic adventure, a work of mythical dimensions, never to be forgotten.” - Daniel Quinn
“The Raven’s Gift has a winning plot, characters we’ve never met before, and intriguing details of a world most of us will never venture to—creating a read that opens our eyes and finds the fault lines of a heart in one breathless sitting.” - Jodi Picoult
From the Publisher
A gripping apocalyptic novel with a social conscience.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
In the story, we follow a cast of survivors stranded in a post-apocalyptic landscape facing the most basic of moral dilemmas for survival. Ironically, the best answers seem to come from the long-suppressed tribalist beliefs of the Yup'ik culture'the same beliefs that allowed the people to survive the most uninhabitable place on earth for centuries. Perhaps this is why the people call themselves "Yup'ik"'or, as it translates "the real people." Wisely, Rearden paints an incomplete picture and forgoes explanation for pure experience.
Beyond just a story, his book becomes a platform for unearthing the many repressed conflicts afflicting Native Alaskan life'both external (climate change, the need for basic services) and internal (loss of culture, teen suicide).
If you're interested in knowing the real Alaska, skip the cruise and buy this book.
My rating: 5/5
John and his wife, Anna, head north to the Alaskan tundra to teach and immerse themselves in the Yup'ik community and culture. They hope to find adventure along the way, but they could never have expected that they would encounter an epidemic that would decimate the Alaskan communities and ultimately prove fatal. With no help coming, the survivors must take things into their own hands if they have any chance of survival. An unlikely trio is formed when John meets up with a blind girl and an older woman, but the bonds they form are needed if they are to survive the perilous journey they must undertake.
I'm still at a loss for words to even begin to describe what I think of The Raven's Gift. It is definitely one of those books that will stick with you long after it is read. I can safely say that this book surprised me with how genuine it is. I found it to be a haunting and compelling read, and it honestly had me hooked from the very beginning. I couldn't put it down, and found that I savoured every page.
The Raven's Gift is told in three interwoven timelines, the first being when John and Anna apply to teach in the Yup'ik communities. The second and third are tied closely together as they both are written after the outbreak and they follow John on his journey with both the blind girl, Rayna, and the older woman, Maggie. A community that is already isolated as is, doesn't stand a chance when an epidemic of this stature is unleashed across it.Read more ›
I basically read Don Rearden's book in 2 sittings. 196 pages the first day (I was travelling) and the next 70 or so on another day. I found his book to be incredibly compelling in that I got so involved in the story on my first day, that I found myself thinking about it day after day until I finished it. And now, I am still drawn to it's many facets: a culture caught between the traditional Yup'ik and the Anglo-American, love, facing your fears, social issues rooted in our limited natural resources, and the list continues.
The short of it is that I want so many people to read The Rave's Gift, but I can only buy so many on my public school teacher's salary. Don's story will make you think, keep you thinking, and give you new insight into what you value (especially in terms of "our" children), while learning about the culture of the Yup'ik Eskimo of rural Alaska.
If you choose to buy one, buy at least 2, because you may find yourself placing multiple orders;) I am on my 2nd order, still thinking that I should've ordered more. Either way, buy at least one. It is a book unlike any other.
The non-Native Rearden delves with empathy and respect into the Native Yup'ik culture, his roots in the region and deep knowledge of the subsistence or village life showing strong. He juggles his diverse cast of indigenous and outsider characters deftly, with humor and pathos. I loved the underlying "conspiracies", the skillful weaving of history lessons, supernatural lore, the onset of winter and graphic details from the point of view of naive schoolteachers. These threads add to the creeping sense of menace that kept me awake all night reading.
But don't worry; there is hope and faith and love in with all the darkness. If I lend this book out (everybody wants to borrow it, I talk so much about it) please return it; it's a keeper.
~ Lesley Thomas, Alaskan author of Flight of the Goose
Most recent customer reviews
It should have been fairly straight forward. John and his wife Anna both loved teaching, and moving to a remote village on the Kuskokwim River in Alaska was something they both... Read morePublished on July 20 2011 by Heather Pearson
I could not put this book down, read it in two days. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat. Deserves more than 5 stars from my perspective. Read morePublished on May 30 2011 by Carlita
Living in Southwest Alaska, the basic premise of Raven's Gift is believable; I have a cache of masks, ammunition,tobacco, etc. Read morePublished on May 4 2011 by Ayaganak am atti
This is a thriller, set in the desperate near-future. Set in southwestern Bush Alaska, told with careful description of life on the tundra, the story is one of survival and the... Read morePublished on April 29 2011 by Anne Fuller
This is a great book. I'm a teacher in what is called "bush" Alaska. It was very well written, and now I cringe every time one of my students cough. Read morePublished on April 23 2011 by laffwithlinda