On Nov. 22, the Washington Post published their Notable Fiction List of 2013. Especially notable for Alaskans was the presence of one of our own, Don Rearden, for his debut novel “The Raven’s Gift.”
In making the 100-title list, Rearden shared the company of Eleanor Catton, author of “the Luminaries” and winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize, as well as Margaret Atwood, Thomas Pynchon, Steven King and Donna Tartt, among many other big names.
In a release Rearden said he didn’t believe the news at first when he was told by a friend.
“It’s just an honor that I never could have imagined at this stage of my writing career,” Rearden said.
The book centers on a young couple who arrive in a Yup’ik village as teachers. they are soon caught up, like the rest of the community, in a vicious epidemic that devastates the population, leaving very few survivors. Reader has described his story in previous interviews as partly allegorical.
“The struggles of my characters in the dark world of the story mirror what I see happening in rural Alaska today,” he said in a Washington Post interview in August.
In that review, the Post’s Michael Dirda wrote:
“Some books are a real surprise. If I tell you that ‘The Raven’s Gift’ is a novel about a young married couple who travel to a remote part of Alaska to teach Yup’ik children, you’re likely to start nodding off even before this sentence ends. But if I ask you to imagine a novel with the hunter-hunted suspense of Geoffrey Household’s ‘Rogue Male,’ the post-apocalyptic bleakness of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ and the haunting mysteriousness of ‘The X-Files,’ then you’re far more likely to pay attention. So pay attention.”
Read the full review here: articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-14/entertainment/41409654_1_novel-rayna-toboggan.
“The Raven’s Gift,” which also was named 2012 Alaska Novel of the Year, is Rearden’s first novel. Rearden is an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
To read the full list, visit www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/notable-fiction-of-2013/