Writer and pilot Colleen Mondor will read from her new book, “Map of My Dead Pilots” this Tuesday, April 3, at Hearthside Books at the Nugget Mall. The presentation and book signing runs from 6:30-8 p.m.
Mondor spent four years running dispatch operations for a Fairbanks-based commuter and charter airline, and currently runs an aircraft leasing business with her husband. “Map of My Dead Pilots” tells the stories of the pilots and passengers Mondor has encountered and heard about in Alaska over the years -- the camaraderie and the accidents, the romance and the reality. From a plane full of restless sled dogs to a 13-mile hike after two emergency landings, the book traces the motivations and adventures of those who are drawn to commercial flying in Alaska, including Mondor herself.
Well-known local writer Nick Jans wrote of the book: “In gorgeous, literary prose that nails the rhythms of a barroom conversation and plumbs the depth of the human soul, Colleen Mondor writes a one-way ticket into the world of Alaska aviation.”
Here is an excerpt:
“There were a thousand stories that seem unbelievable when I tell them now, even to me, but I know they are true. Like the hunters who flew out into the Bush with an espresso machine and sourdough starter for their ‘real wilderness experience’ and the planeload of traditional Athabascan fiddlers who came in from Canada for a festival chewing on smoked salmon jerky all the way. We saw extremes everyday that seemed improbable if not impossible. If I remember the stories, then I know the life I lived was true; I know it happened; I know that once upon a time this was who we were and how we lived. “
-- Colleen Mondor, from “Map of My Dead Pilots”