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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 ›
Life was looking rosy until Anna came down with a fever; a fever that didn't go away. In fact, many of the residents of their small community also became ill. Then they started to die. Whole families perished. John waited for help to come, but as Anna declined, he finally accepted that no help was coming. He was alone in the tundra with no help. Everyone else was in the same predicament.
Other than the first 30 or so pages, I read this book in one day. I couldn't put it down. Not only was I curious about this plague, but also I needed to know how John was going to survive in an environment that was still very foreign to him. He knew so little about the culture and way of life of the Yup'ik people. While they might be able to overcome these harsh turn of events, what chance did John have.
Author Don Rearden has thrown together three characters: John the school teacher, Rayne the blind twenty year old , and Maggie an Yup'ik elder. None of them are equipped to survive on their own. For them to effectively work together, they each will have to teach as well as learn from the others. I didn't know if John could do this.
I was surprised to learn that this is a debut novel from Mr. Reardon. It was so well put together and with such depth to the characters that I wanted to search for his earlier novels. I loved the careful details of the Yup'ik culture. I highly recommend this book, not only to those who enjoy post-apocalyptic stories, but also to those interesting in history and culture.
Most recent customer reviews
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
Very dynamic and exciting read. The description of the Alaskan scenery combined with the suspense of the story line make this a very fun read. Read morePublished on April 23 2011 by Tina Nenoff
See Caleb Conley's review. I found it to be very succinct.
I basically read Don Rearden's book in 2 sittings. Read more