Jimmy Bluefeather
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Jimmy Bluefeather

4.2 (272 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Old Keb Wisting is somewhere around ninety-five years old (he lost count awhile ago) and in constant pain and thinks he wants to die. He also thinks he thinks too much. Part Norwegian and part Tlingit Native ("with some Filipino and Portuguese thrown in"), he's the last living canoe carver in the village of Jinkaat, in Southeast Alaska. When his grandson, James, a promising basketball player, ruins his leg in a logging accident and tells his grandpa that he has nothing left to live for, Old Keb comes alive and finishes his last canoe, with help from his grandson. Together (with a few friends and a crazy but likeable dog named Steve) they embark on a great canoe journey. Suddenly all of Old Keb's senses come into play, so clever and wise in how he reads the currents, tides and storms. Nobody can find him. He and the others paddle deep into wild Alaska, but mostly into the human heart, in a story of adventure, love, and reconciliation. With its rogue's gallery of colorful, endearing, small-town characters, this book stands as a wonderful blend of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and John Nichols's The Milagro Beanfield War, with dashes of John Steinbeck thrown in.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 265 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 16mm | 526g
  • ALASKA NORTHWEST BOOKS
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1513260804
  • 9781513260808

Review quote

"Jimmy Bluefeather, a new novel by Kim Heacox, is a masterful work of fiction. It fits snugly in the spaces between Kim's previous books, much as the bones of his main character, Old Keb, fit the wood of his cane, "the wilderness between his fingers." That line comes from the third paragraph of this engaging book. I stopped and read the first five paragraphs several times before turning the page. I wanted to savor the craft of Kim's writing like swirling a fine wine in the glass before sipping. I was hooked. I liked Keb from page one, and cared about what might happen to him. This is very important, because at his core Kim Heacox is an activist, a disruptive radical on a mission to save the world. "Imagine ... it isn't hard to do." Except that it is, but Kim makes it less hard through the gracefulness of his writing and the quirky likability of his characters. With the wry portraits in Jimmy Bluefeather, Kim captures the essence of a small town in Southeast Alaska with the gentle fondness and keen accuracy of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon. Keb's inner monologue says at one point: "To tell a story was no small thing; you had to have both permission and authority." Kim has clearly acquired both through long years of close and loving observation. Activism is present on every page. "Words are tools too," in this case well used in the service of Kim's passion for nature. Almost before we know it, we are rooting for Keb and the others to get back to the inner place where they once belonged. It is a wild and wonderful magical mystery tour, with just a hint of mysticism and a healthy dose of morality. Like its opening paragraphs, Jimmy Bluefeather is a book to be savored." -Bob Osborne, Northern Passagesshow more

About Kim Heacox

Kim Heacox is the award-winning author of several books including the acclaimed John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire and the novel Caribou Crossing. His feature articles have appeared in Audubon, Travel & Leisure, Wilderness, Islands, Orion, and National Geographic Traveler. His editorials, written for the Los Angeles Times, have appeared in many major newspapers across the United States. When not playing the guitar, doing simple carpentry, or writing another novel, he's sea kayaking with his wife, Melanie or watching a winter wren on the woodpile.show more

Rating details

272 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 48% (131)
4 30% (82)
3 17% (46)
2 4% (10)
1 1% (3)
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