• about me

    I grew up in the Alaskan Arctic in a multicultural family from ancient and new traditions. Later I did ecological research on the effects of oil spills on bird habitat in arctic salt marsh.

     

    This inspired Flight of the Goose, an award-winning novel about a shaman and a scientist set in a remote village on Bering Strait, Alaska - in a time of great cultural and ecological change.

     

    Flight of the Goose has been endorsed by Inupiaq and Yup'ik elders, lead arctic anthropologists and scientists, literary critics and fellow authors, shamanic practitioners, and readers the world over. Here are raves from a few (more further down):

     

    Internationally respected anthropologist Jean L. Briggs:

     

    "The story took my breath away - I wept through it, identifying profoundly with both protagonists. All of the characters are thoroughly believable. (Thomas) has a fine grasp of the complexities of human relations and culture in such a village. She also writes beautifully. I was caught up from the first page; a remarkable book altogether."

     

     

    Inupiaq author Fred Bigjim:

     

    "A novel about triumph over despair, maturity gained through pain, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. … (the) characters seem drawn from life, believable, memorable, tragic and hopeful. … ‘Flight of the Goose’ is a remarkable achievement.”"

     

     

    Nancy Lord (past Alaska Writer Laureate, in 49 Writers):

     

    "A question that intrigues me is why we think of "nature writing" almost exclusively as nonfiction...I nominate the late Marjorie Cole's novel Correcting the Landscape as a best book of nature/environmental writing. It won the Bellwether Prize for socially/politically engaged fiction and is full of the natural and human environment of interior Alaska. Lesley Thomas's Flight of the Goose, a novel set in the Arctic, is another fine example. I do think we sometimes have a double-standard regarding what we think of as "literature," with fiction and poetry elevated over "fact."

     

     

     

     

    My short fiction appears in The Northern Review Journal;

    and Cold Flashes: Literary Snapshots of Alaska. My current project is a speculative/dystopian/visionary novel: The Otter's Ransom.

    Further raves for Flight of the Goose from anthropologists, Native leaders, theologists, environmentalists, scientists and shamans:

     

    "A truly glorious manifesto...An amazing understanding..." ~Jack Dalton, Alaska Native storyteller, writer and teacher

     

    “Memorable...One of the best novels of Alaska that I have read. With the author’s unerring knowledge of anthropology and social and environmental issues, it could fit any rural Alaskan village.”

    ~ Dorothy Jean Ray,(A Legacy of Arctic Art, and The Eskimos of Bering Strait 1650-1898)

     

    "Provocative...reminds me of growing up in the 1950s and '60s in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Deltas..." ~John Active, Yup'ik, Tundra Drums

     

    "..A serious work of modern literature, unlike the detective genre of Alaska fiction we have all seen at the newstands....portrays a world in which traditional values clash with modern expectations." ~Alaska Anthropological Association

     

    “A remarkable achievement...a complex treatment of problems that face us all in a world of unavoidable change and contact..."

    ~Fred Bigjim, Inupiaq elder and author of Echoes from the Tundra


    "(An) exquisite example of storytelling...(with) a sense of Alaska Native culture and tradition...~First Alaskans magazine

     

    "Unique and beautiful...an absolutely splendid book. It is a great pleasure for me to "go" to places such as Flight of the Goose describes, and to "live" for a time in those environments. Thomas knows her subject very well, and describes it very well, and writes very well, and when this is all put together the results are superb."
    ~Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, (no relation)

    author of The Old Way: A Story of the First People, and Reindeer Moon

     

    “The story took my breath away. I wept my way through it, identifying profoundly with both protagonists. A remarkable book altogether.”

    ~Jean L. Briggs, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland and author of Never in Anger

    "A dreamlike flow of images and language, impeccably crafted and deeply rooted in an authentic sense of place...Thomas' first novel brims with promise."
    ~Nick Jans, The Grizzly Maze and The Last Light Breaking

     

    "Who would you pick from in this list of amazing (Alaska)authors? Seth Kantner, Jodi Picoult, Daniel Quinn, Craig Johnson, Pete Fromm, Kris Farmen, Eowyn Ivey, Bill Streever, Lesley Thomas, David Vann, Jo-Ann Mapson, and Ron Carlson."

                                 ~Don Rearden, The Raven's Gift

     

    "(Besides) shamanic themes...the story addresses many other significant issues as well - among them, climate change, environmental crisis, and indigenous rights...and it does so with both artistry and insight." ~Shaman's Drum Journal

     

    "I couldn’t put it down. Sámi scholar Rauna Kuokkanen calls shamanism 'the Indigenous paradigm' and resurrects the word oainnádat to explain it '(It) describes the Sami paradigm or special point of view. It means clear weather or a clear light that makes it possible to see things in nature. I believe the new meaning of oainnádat is to clear your ideas and thoughts in order to see properly.' Kayuqtuq does that." ~ Faith Fjeld, editor of Baiki: the International Sami Journal

      

    "Thomas is a brilliant writer. She weaves together a love story, a story about life in an Alaskan village, shamanism, spiritual awakening and deep ecology. I am recommending this book to everyone I know."

    ~Sandra Ingerman, author of Soul Retrieval, and Medicine For the Earth

     

    "What an extraordinary novel...(Thomas) deals with the shamanism and sorcery in a very realistic way..." ~Sacred Hoop Magazine

     

    "Compelling...evokes the universal desires that transcend cultural differences...A rare combination of western and Native viewpoints."

    ~Dr. George Divoky, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska

     

    ..."Masterful...the authenticity palpable...an absolutely gripping tale - actually a skillful braiding of tales. I was moved by the characters and their fates as I have not been by a novel in a long time. A remarkable work...a joy, a big broad deep river of a book, a work of substance and great beauty of both vision and style."

    ~Alaska Press Women Contest judge Richard Hoffman, author of Half the House, Love & Fury

     

    "Lucid and complex...enormously compelling (and) offers numerous avenues for theological reflections."

    ~Wesley Wildman, professor of theology at Boston University

     

    "The reader is transported...as we witness the unfolding of the novice's inner world as a healer on a forbidden path...An impressive knowledge of circumpolar shamanism." ~Gizelle Rhyon-Berry, The Foundation for Shamanic Studies

     

    "An honest and vivid portrayal...entrancing blend of mysticism and realism (and)should be of interest to birders and naturalists because of the central role that birds and other wildlife play."

    ~John Trapp, wildlife biologist and author of Birds Etcetera

     

    "Thomas has captured the land, culture, better than anyone else I've read or spoken with…(and) driven deeper into the global and personal realities of cultural transition than anyone I know. And she's done it with genius, with a love story that will take your breath away."

    ~Lars Clausen, Pastor in arctic Alaska, author of Straight Into Gay America

     

    "As a cultural anthropologist studying hunting ontologies in northwest Alaska I was deeply impressed with both the detail and range of Thomas’s book. She provides a rich description of the understatedness and subtlety of contemporary Inupiaq culture while avoiding the pitfall of creating an exotic “Other." ~Dr. Josh Wisniewski

     

    "A beautifully told tale of love that grows between two very different people from two very different cultures...The writing throughout is exceptionally fine, and the evocation of the culture Gretchen inhabits is detailed and subtle. The story's emotional impact is deep, and its spiritual insights are profound."

    ~Gerald McFarland, author of the Buenaventura Series Trilogy, (The Brujo's Way, What the Owl Saw, and The Last of Our Kind)

    .

    "I'm happy to recommend this intricate and poetic novel...that leaves the heart transformed. What will it take to make the dominant culture less lethal to itself, to Earth, to people it regards as Other?"

    ~Dr. Craig Chalquist, author of Ecopsychology

     

    "Explores themes of myth, cultural conflict, environmentalism, and spirituality against the spectacular backdrop of the Arctic tundra. Recommended." ~Terri Windling, Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts

     

    "Should be required reading by Congress... thought provoking and moving...Flight of the Goose puts a human face on the much debated issue of oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness...A must read for anyone that wants to learn more about Alaska than is in the headlines." ~Heather Lende, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name

     

    "A beautiful and compelling story of Arctic Alaska on the edge of the cultural and environmental upheaval...cuts through sentimental notions of Native culture and Arctic wilderness with a clear and powerful honesty. An extraordinary weave of the complexities of culture, environment, family, and - finally - love."

    ~Marybeth Holleman, The Heart of the Sound

     

    "Thomas has done what would seem to be the impossible -- taken us deep inside the Inupiat world, in the voice and mind of an extraordinary young woman with still more extraordinary powers. I know of no book like this. You'll be stunned by the depth and scope of this novel and the unique and unmistakably true voice of its heroine."
    ~Lesley Hazleton, Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen

     

    "Moving and revelatory...This is a story we must all know before we make any decisions about the Arctic that will forever haunt future generations." ~ Brenda Peterson, Build Me an Ark and Living By Water

     

    "The theme of star-crossed lovers is as old and universal as any in the world's storytelling traditions. Thomas conjures up a startling new variation in her impressive debut novel." ~Fairbanks Daily Newsmaker

     

    "Timely today for its themes of cultural and religious clashes, war, childhood traumas and environmental threats, but also themes of survival and the finding of oneself through love." ~The Nome Nugget

     

    "Heartrending...vivid...timely...This story of star-crossed lovers probes the most burning issues of our day: the rights of women…war versus peace; magic versus science; oil company greed versus the traditional — and sustainable — society of the Alaska native peoples."

    ~People’s Weekly World Newspaper

     

    "A truly beautiful literary achievement...Engrossing...Global warming and its tragic effects on the Far North have been on our minds these days,and Flight of the Goose is a great way to expand our knowledge of that remote region."
    ~Pacific Vision, Women's International League For Peace and Freedom

     

    "Thomas masterfully braids two voices from vastly different cultures in a tale of loss and love. Her sensitivity to traditional knowledge and ways of knowing shines through her language and craft...A wonderful tribute to the Alaskan Arctic.” ~Leslie Hsu Oh, award-winning Alaska writer

     

    "Wonderful, authentic, lyrical and rich. Thomas brought the landscape alive." ~Vivian Faith Prescott, The Hide of My Tongue

     

    "A deep rich novel that will leave readers eager for more of the truth about the 49th state..." ~Colleen Mondor,

    author of The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying in Alaska

       

    "Marvelous...wonderfully deft and vivid...authentic...The author has an intimate sense of her subject...The characters are so fully realized I felt I knew them all." ~ Lynne Fitzhugh, The Labradorians

     

     

    The Tusculum Review interviews award-winning Alaska author Melinda Moustakis, :

    Q: "I know you’re not out to grind axes or prove points, but how do you navigate the political in your work as a writer writing about Alaska? And, who are some other contemporary writers writing about Alaska in similarly subversive ways that you’d recommend?

    Melinda: "I’d recommend fiction set in Alaska by Seth Kantner, Nancy Lord, and Lesley Thomas. ...Thomas writes about love and loss in a fictional Inupiat Village..where the subsistence lifestyle is threatened by outsiders. Alaska is often called “the last frontier” and Thomas challenges this misnomer by writing about characters and a culture who have long settled in the Alaskan wilderness. (Thomas) proves Alaskan fiction is so much more than Jack London’s version of the state..."

    ~ Melinda Moustakis, Bear Down, Bear North  

     

     

    see more reviews below

  • Flight of the Goose: a Story of the Far North

    1971, the Alaskan Arctic:

     

    Orphan Kayuqtuq, "the red fox", seeks respect in her traditional village through the outlawed path of shamanism.

     

    Her plan leads to tragedy when she interferes with scientist Leif Trygvesen, who has come to research the effects of oil spills on salt marshes - and evade the draft.

     

    Told from Kayuqtuq's and Leif's perspectives, Flight of the Goose is a tale of cultural conflict, spiritual awakening, redemption and love in a time when things were - to use the phrase of an old arctic shaman - "no longer familiar."

     

     

     

    Awards for Flight of the Goose:

     

    FIRST PLACE, National Federation of Press Women Communications Award

    "Powerful...This book deserves the marketing and promotion that are too often wasted on inferior titles."
    ~National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest judge


    FIRST PLACE, Washington Press Association Communicator of Excellence in Fiction Award

     

    FIRST PLACE, Alaska Press Women Communications Award

     "This is an absolutely gripping tale - actually a skillful braiding of tales. I was moved by the characters and their fates as I have not been by a novel in a long time." ~Alaska Press Women Contest judge Richard Hoffman, award-winning author of Half the House

     

    FINALIST, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award

     

     

    more endorsements:

    Flight of the Goose has been studied at schools and book clubs the world over:

     

    Boston University, University of Alaska, University of Washington, Alaska's North Slope School District, Sterling College in Vermont, Washington State high schools, and by students of Sandra Ingerman (Medicine for the Earth).

     

    Listed as a source or publication of note in:

     

    Alaska Anthropological Association

     

    Historical Dictionary of the Inuit 2nd Ed. 2013; and

    Daily Life of the Inuit by Pamela Stern, 2010

     

    Cultural Survival Quarterly, 2005

     

    Feminist Studies Journal

     

    UW Today: news at University of Washington

     

    Sold in University of Washington Burke Museum w/ The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World

     

    Presented w/ Dr. George Divoky of Friends of Cooper Island: Monitoring Climate Change with Arctic Seabirds, at Richard Hugo House

    ______________________________________________

     

    Flight of the Goose is recommended by:

     

    2012 Inuit Studies Conference 

    First Alaskans Magazine 

    Alaska Gray Lines ("Top 17 Books set in Alaska")

    Cli-Fi Books (ecological/ climate change fiction)

     

    Alaska writer laureate Nancy Lord

    award-winning Alaska writer Melinda Moustakis

    award-winning poet Richard Hoffman

     

    John Marshall, book critic The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    Bellingham Weekly, Earth Day Issue

    Die Presse newspaper of Austria

      

    Endicott Studio of Mythic Arts

    Sacred Hoop Magazine and Shaman's Drum Journal

     

    Women's Fiction Book blog

    New Connexion Magazine

    shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman

     

    University of Alaska bookstore

    Midwest Book Reviews

    Enrique Freeque book forum

    xtme-englishbooks (Germany)

     

    ecologists, healthcare workers, worldwide bookclubs

     

    reviews of Flight of the Goose in: ~Bookslut

    ~Miriam's Well by Joanna Harcourt Smith

     

     

    “Another book (beside Caribou Rising and A People’s History of Wilderness) that takes its sensibilities from the Arctic, Flight of the Goose is a novel by Fairhaven College graduate Lesley Thomas. Her main characters - a traumatized Inupiaq orphan traveling the outlawed path of shamanism and a western scientist who is researching the effects of oil spills on salt marshes as well as evading the Vietnam draft – function as two distinct voices trying to communicate across the enormous abyss that separate their cultures. Their encounters highlight the different worldviews that coexist side by side in the Alaskan outback, and Thomas’ intimate knowledge of the mystical traditions, lifeways and language of the Inupiat Eskimo help her create a compelling portrait of a vanishing way of life.”

     

    ~ Christian Martin, Environmental Bookshelf, “New Titles explore and celebrate Planet Earth”, Earth Day Issue Bellingham Weekly

     

     

    ~Endicott Studio by Terri Windling

    ~Kudos in Tin House by author Melinda Moustakis

     

    Alaska's Peninsula Clarion (Fairbanks Daily News Miner) "Powerful Novel Portrays Cultural Collision":

     

    (excerpt) "For the first time, the wary Kayuqtuq finds herself ensnared by a greater power than her own. She and Trygvesen are drawn to each other despite themselves. Alternately mesmerizing, astonishing and terrifying each other, they are pulled into a tumultuous liaison.

    Their fears and desires unleash social and spiritual forces beyond their understanding and control, forces that engulf everyone close to them.

    A tale of passion and otherworldly spirits could lead a lesser writer astray, succumbing to the preposterous or overwrought. But Thomas focuses her story with skill, using understatement and humble details to keep it on track. With exquisite pacing, she brings the reader into the storm of her characters' lives.

    The author weaves a strong and complex story. She adroitly includes history, sociology, anthropology, biology and religion, all rendered personal. She addresses relations among the races, between the genders, between science and mysticism, among others. Without contrivance or name-dropping, she includes poetry quotations, allusions to other literature and references to Norse and Native American mythologies. She peels away layers of preconception and uncovers facets both dark and bright.

    Beneath the tale lies a strong description of the living landscape and through it runs an electric current of eroticism.

    On one level, "Flight of the Goose" is reminiscent of "Wuthering Heights," with the Alaska tundra replacing the British moors.

    On another, it begs comparison with last year's notable Bush novel, Seth Kantner's "Ordinary Wolves." The inner and outer worlds of both books overlap, but they are quite different in plot and tone, most notably due to the female perspective in "Flight of the Goose." Taken together, the two novels suggest a great creative inspiration from Northwest Alaska.

    Thomas has given us a haunting book, rich with nuance and ambiguity. Beyond the strong characters, exotic plot and masterful prose, it challenges our worldview and touches the heart." (~
    Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

    Birds Etcetera bird blog review

    review by Lesley Hazelton, author of After the Prophet

    an interview in Alaska Dispatch

    reviews by: Jack Dalton, Yup'ik storyteller (in Insurgent49 )

    Craig Chalquist, author of Terrapsychology

    Fred Bigjim, Inupiaq elder and author

  • More Praise for Flight of the Goose

    "Whoever wants to get closer to the present (of Alaska) without having to meet Sarah Palin should consider Flight of the Goose by Lesley Thomas." ~Die Presse newspaper, Austria

     

    "The theme of star-crossed lovers is as old and universal as any in the world's storytelling traditions. Thomas conjures up a startling new variation in her impressive debut novel." ~Fairbanks Daily Newsmaker

     

    "Not just another ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) book, Thomas takes on the spiritual and mystical aspects of the Arctic." ~Seattle Weekly

     

    "Thomas...takes the reader of this award-winning novel into a fascinating, foreign world." ~xtme-englishbooks

     

    "A beautifully told tale of love that grows between two very different people from two very different cultures....Their relationship unfolds through her first-person narrative, which unselfconsciously overflows with her sensitivity, her intensity, and her spirit and informs everything she sees, understands, and does not understand. Passages from Leif’s journal provide his perspective and his very different voice. The writing throughout is exceptionally fine, and the evocation of the culture Gretchen inhabits is detailed and subtle. The story’s emotional impact is deep, and its spiritual insights are profound."

     

    ~ Gerald McFarland, professor of history and award-winning author (The Brujo's Way, What the Owl Saw, and The Last of Our Kind)

     

             

    "Fascinated by the forces unleashed when different cultures rub up against each other...Thomas' nontraditional childhood leads her into cultural exploration.."
    ~Anne Hanley, Anchorage Daily News

     

    "Powerful...This book deserves the marketing and promotion that are too often wasted on inferior titles."
    ~National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest judge

     

    "Unforgettable...rings as true as bell metal. Gretchen is one of the strongest, most authentic characters I have had the pleasure of encountering in a long time. Thomas tackles some very big stuff—anthropology, myth, gender, science, institutionalized religion, the spirit world, ecology, colonialism, and more—and not only never falsifies but manages to bring them all into a fruitful relationship with each other. (She) has my admiration."
    ~Eugene Garber, award-winning author of The Historian and Beasts in Their Wisdom

     

    "Remarkable...Beautifully written, original and fascinating...I pray there will be other novels bearing Thomas' byline."

    ~John deYonge, former editor of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

     

    "Memorable and highly recommended (5 stars). A sophisticated story enriched by an impressive personal background...infuses realism and accurate detail into this work." ~Midwest Book Review

     

    "Intimate knowledge...a compelling portrait..." ~Bellingham Weekly, Earth Day edition

     

    "The story and language seemed true to Alaska. It was a joy to read a real book about Alaska and the Native experience instead of the commercial touristy cliche version." ~ Patricia Richardson, Alaska Press Women

     

    "Vibrant and genuine...A breathtaking landscape, poignant love story and unforgettable characters delivered with keen insight into human nature..." ~ The Twig, Saint Andrew's Literary Journal

     

    "Thomas gives insights to be treasured and applied to our own lives. Her sharing of the impact of Christianity on the Native people and the struggle to balance their Native spirituality with the Christian tradition is deftly handled. She has much to teach about love, life, perseverance of spirit and what really matters in life. I will definitely recommend this one to other ministers and seekers on the spiritual path." ~Rev Sandra Soley Keep, Unity minister

     

    "A singular first novel...a winner." ~ Queen Anne News of Seattle "Fascinating and magical." ~ Queen Anne Books

     

    "At heart a love story...also a remarkable depiction of village life in the High Arctic at a time both near and far from our own."

    ~Toyon Books, Healdsburg, CA

     

    "A spiritually and environmentally resonant tale..." ~In Other Words, Women's Books and Resources, Portland

     

    "A haunting atmospheric tale...this truly amazing first novel has won well deserved praise. The author's own multi-ethnic heritage and youth spent in an Alaskan village gives the rich details depth and believability."
    ~New Connexion, a Journal of Conscious Living

     

    "Thomas creates a vivid arctic landscape, and explores the equally real psychic terrain that is connected to it. This powerfully written love story draws forth the spirit of the north like the sun pulls vapor from the ice, arousing a new understanding of what it means to be human." ~Kelpie Wilson, environmental editor of Truthout and author of Primal Tears

     

    "I recommend (this) wonderful first novel. Though I thought I knew all about this problem, I was stunned by how global warming is changing and harming Arctic communities and wildlife." ~Doris Cellarius, Sierra Club Magazine

     

    "Through wonderful storytelling, Thomas immediately captures the connection of humans to animals to land. She conveys the distinct truth that our survival depends on one another. This book is a must for those who care about what we must do to preserve the world and everything in it." ~Eva Abram, Storyteller

     

    "Flight of the Goose is one of the most rare and precious finds for any avid reader interested in indigenous cultures. Gripping, soul-wrenching and defiant, (it) soars above the wasteland norm of most contemporary writing and bravely, sincerely explores issues of culture, gender, shamanism, love, abuse, environmental degradation, and political rape...Brilliant...one of the most indelible novels I have ever read." ~ OneWomansMind.net

     

    "One reason that we liked the book so much was that it portrayed Alaska as we know it and not some fake fantasy that others make up." ~ Glenallen, Alaska bookclub

     

    "My chest clutched on the last two pages. It took my breath away. This book should be out in front of every book store; every library should push it; the world should know about it and Lesley Thomas. I was blown away." ~ Jim Misko, Alaskan author

     

    "Flight of the Goose hits universal truths about the power of understanding, forgiveness, (not the "television talk show" kind of forgiveness), and redemption to heal. For me, this is very connected to the Land, Alaska; it is all a feedback loop... Lesley Thomas is part of that Land and it shows in her book. She has intricate knowledge of and respect for the people and culture. Her book portrays the complicated interweavings of culture, "progress", and how fear, love, and trauma coexist to shape experience. She does not romanticize these experiences as some writers do. While fiction, (it) feels more real and true than I can describe..and has a certain transcendence that I want to share." ~ Saidee Whitehorn, Alaska nurse practitioner

     

    "Flight of the Goose soars on wings of spirit...Sweet, sad, soulful, and transformative...An absorbing and fascinating tale, a profound demonstration of love imbued with a deep respect and reverence for the entire intricate network of life. A celebration of the soul of the shaman, the scientist, the woman, the man, the family, the community, the geese, the snow, and the ice..."

    ~Donna Henes, NYC urban shaman, Queen of Myself

     

    "Thomas applies her extensive knowledge of the culture, use of language, shamanism and way of life of the Inupiat people...ecological destruction...how two people from different cultures find love brings balance to the story...that will enlighten you to way-up North Country." ~Bookbuffet

     

    "A deep rich novel that will leave readers eager for more of the truth about the 49th state...a heartbreaker, but only in that special sort of way that makes you grateful for the hurt." ~Colleen Mondor, author of The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying in Alaska

     

     

    “Indelible…Lesley Thomas offers rare literature in a vast wasteland of contemporary fiction. I found myself underlining her words, my favorite quote being "Whatever is already in us at birth, we find again in stories.' Her writing and depth of understanding about women, spirituality and shamanism and Inuit culture is phenomenal.” ~Paula Vaughan, professor of mythology

     

     

    "I read another compelling account (of shapeshifting), in Lesley Thomas’s book Flight of the Goose (Sandra Ingerman recommended it to me), about the experience of a young indigenous woman in northern Alaska learning to shape-shift, which has continued to haunt me." ~ Nita Renfrew, independent journalist

     

                            

    "A wonderfully written, engaging story...brought real world issues into a novel, which really brought the characters to life."

    ~ Front Street Reviews

     

    "Flight of the Goose soars beyond the physical realm to touch the spiritual...Eloquent writing, vivid descriptions and a plot pulsing with passion…" ~In the Library Reviews

     

    "Beautifully written, ethereal novel...masterful evocation...elevated psychological fiction(full of) nuance and complexity of the kind made famous by Melville." ~Book Room Reviews

     

    "Unforgettable...Beautiful writing, marvelous story, engaging characters." ~CompulsiveReader.com

     

    "Step into another world with this wonderful book... With rich, illuminating prose...Thomas takes us on a unique journey to find what we all seek: human compassion, trust, a sense of belonging, and of course, love." ~PelePublications.com

     

    "Excellent read (5 starred). Thomas brings her first-hand knowledge of growing up in the Arctic forward into a haunting story…I quickly devoured (this) fantastically told tale." ~Armchair Interviews

      

    “Alaska: Call of the Wild of course, and Flight of the Goose."

    ~Owner of Castle Books in Beaumaris, Wales (recommending for Andrea Reads America reading project)

     

                        

     

    “A remarkable achievement...Flight of the Goose is a novel about triumph over despair, maturity gained through pain, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration, loss and loneliness, alienation and fear, acceptance and forgiveness, the natural and supernatural. Thomas' characters seem drawn from life, believable, memorable, tragic and hopeful...Its complex treatment of problems that face us all in a world of unavoidable change and contact...will haunt the reader long after the covers have been closed..."

    ~Fred Bigjim, Inupiaq elder and author of Plants: A Novel, and Echoes from the Tundra

         

    "Flight of the Goose...is another fine example (of nature/environmental writing in Alaska fiction)."
    ~Nancy Lord, Alaska’s writer laureate; author of Beluga Days and Rock, Water, Wild

     

    "Should be required reading by Congress... thought provoking and moving...Flight of the Goose puts a human face on the much debated issue of oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness...A must read for anyone that wants to learn more about Alaska than is in the headlines." ~Heather Lende, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name

     

     

    "A compelling narrative that evokes the universal desires that transcend cultural differences... a rare combination of western and Native viewpoints." ~Dr. George Divoky, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

     

    "A gem...The reader is transported...as we witness the unfolding of the novice's inner world as a healer on a forbidden path...An impressive knowledge of circumpolar shamanism." ~Gizelle Rhyon-Berry, The Foundation for Shamanic Studies


     

    "A beautiful and compelling story of Arctic Alaska on the edge of the cultural and environmental upheaval...cuts through sentimental notions of Native culture and Arctic wilderness with a clear and powerful honesty. An extraordinary weave of the complexities of culture, environment, family, and - finally - love."

    ~Marybeth Holleman, The Heart of the Sound: An Alaskan Paradise Found and Nearly Lost

     

      

    "Unique and beautiful...an absolutely splendid book. It is a great pleasure for me to "go" to places such as Flight of the Goose describes, and to "live" for a time in those environments. Thomas knows her subject very well, and describes it very well, and writes very well, and when this is all put together the results are superb."
    ~Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, (no relation) author of The Old Way: A Story of the First People, and Reindeer Moon

     

    "A dreamlike flow of images and language, impeccably crafted and deeply rooted in an authentic sense of place...Thomas' first novel brims with promise."
    ~Nick Jans, The Grizzly Maze and The Last Light Breaking

     

    "Lucid and complex...enormously compelling (and) offers numerous avenues for theological reflections. A week or two after reading and discussing the book, I brought to class an article on members of an Inupiat village that is suing Big Oil for destroying their traditional lifestyle. The class immediately grasped the significance of the lawsuit, thanks to this novel."

    ~Wesley Wildman, professor of theology at Boston U, author of Lost in the Middle? Claiming an Inclusive Faith

     

    "Thomas has done what would seem to be the impossible -- taken us deep inside the Inupiat world, in the voice and mind of an extraordinary young woman with still more extraordinary powers. I know of no book like this. You'll be stunned by the depth and scope of this novel and the unique and unmistakably true voice of its heroine."
    ~Lesley Hazleton, Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen

     

    "Explores themes of myth, cultural conflict, environmentalism, and spirituality against the spectacular backdrop of the Arctic tundra. Recommended." ~Terri Windling, Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts

     

    "Moving and revelatory...This is a story we must all know before we make any decisions about the Arctic that will forever haunt future generations." ~ Brenda Peterson, Build Me an Ark and Living By Water

     

    "Timely today for its themes of cultural and religious clashes, war, childhood traumas and environmental threats, but also themes of survival and the finding of oneself through love." ~The Nome Nugget

     

    "Heartrending...vivid...timely...This story of star-crossed lovers probes the most burning issues of our day: the rights of women…war versus peace; magic versus science; oil company greed versus the traditional — and sustainable — society of the Alaska native peoples." ~People’s Weekly World Newspaper

     

    "A truly beautiful literary achievement...Engrossing...Global warming and its tragic effects on the Far North have been on our minds these days,and Flight of the Goose is a great way to expand our knowledge of that remote region."
    ~Pacific Vision, Women's International League For Peace and Freedom

     

    - as listed with The Kids from Nowhere by George Guthridge:

    "Two (books) stand out this year as exquisite examples of storytelling. Both focus on rural Alaska. Both focus share deeply some critical aspects of Alaska Native life…Both are authored by gifted writers who have a sense of Alaska Native culture and tradition…Both are well-written page-turners that will warm your heart and the hearts of those with whom you share the stories this winter." ~First Alaskans: a statewide magazine of Native business and culture

     

    "Should be of interest to birders and naturalists because of the central role that birds and other wildlife play in the everyday lives of the people portrayed...An honest and vivid portrayal...If you want to get a glimpse of what Alaska is really all about, pick up a copy of Flight of the Goose and set aside some quiet time to allow yourself to be absorbed into the entrancing blend of mysticism and realism that characterizes Thomas’s prose." ~ John Trapp, wildlife biologist and author of Birds Etcetera, a birding blog

     

    "I'm happy to recommend this intricate and poetic novel to those looking for more than a quick read or an easy story...more soulful...that leaves the heart transformed. What will it take to make the dominant culture less lethal to itself, to Earth, to people it regards as Other?" ~ Dr. Craig Chalquist, Ecopsychology, and A Brief Mythology of Petroleum

     

    "Flight of The Goose challenged my world view and opened my heart. (It) welcomes the reader through a mysterious door into the old ways of a village that no longer exists...My world disappeared and the arctic village life became more real to me than my own life...this is the most honest, poignant and beautiful book I have ever read."~Joanna Harcourt-Smith, editor of futureprimitive.org

     

     

    "Thomas masterfully braids two voices from vastly different cultures in a tale of loss and love. Her sensitivity to traditional knowledge and ways of knowing shines through her language and craft. Flight of the Goose is a wonderful tribute to the Alaskan Arctic.” ~Leslie Hsu Oh, Creative Writing Instructor, University of Alaska Anchorage

     

    "Wonderful, authentic, lyrical and rich. Thomas brought the landscape alive." ~Vivian Faith Prescott, The Hide of My Tongue

     

    "Marvelous...wonderfully deft and vivid...authentic...The author has an intimate sense of her subject...The characters are so fully realized I felt I knew them all." ~ Lynne Fitzhugh, The Labradorians

     

    "Thomas has captured the land, culture, better than anyone else I've read or spoken with, bar none…I take my hat off to her. As an author, she has driven deeper into the global and personal realities of cultural transition than anyone I know. And she's done it with genius, with a love story that will take your breath away. Thank you, Lesley Thomas!"

    ~Lars Clausen, past Lutheran pastor in arctic Alaska; award-winning author of Straight Into Gay America
     

    "Memorable...One of the best novels of Alaska I have read...a love story of the Earth and of a village struggling to accept the changes of the new economy, subsistence pursuits, spirituality, and the environment of the 1970s. This may be about a fictitious village, but with the author's unerring knowledge of anthropology and social and environmental issues, it could fit any rural Alaskan village."

    ~arctic anthropologist Dorothy Jean Ray, author of A Legacy of Arctic Art and The Eskimos of Bering Strait 1650-1898

     

    "The story took my breath away...I wept my way through it, identifying profoundly with both protagonists. The author has a fine grasp of the complexity of human relations and culture in such a village."
    ~Dr. Jean L. Briggs, Never In Anger and Inuit Morality Play

     

    "A truly glorious manifesto...An amazing understanding...When the stories of the ancestors begin, we sit quiet, forego comfort for as long as we must to learn something powerful, and yet, love every moment of it. This is one of those stories. It is difficult to be an ambassador, especially between two unbelievably different worlds. However, Thomas seems to be the perfect ambassador."
    ~Jack Dalton, Alaska Native storyteller, writer and teacher

     

    "Provocative...reminds me of growing up in the 1950s and '60s in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Deltas..."
    ~John Active, Yup'ik, Tundra Drums

     

    "..a serious work of modern literature, unlike the detective genre of Alaska fiction we have all seen at the newstands....portrays a world in which traditional values clash with modern expectations." ~Alaska Anthropological Association

     

    Roberta Louis of Shaman's Drum Journal:

    "Although I have chosen to focus largely on shamanic themes...the story addresses many other significant issues as well - among them, climate change, environmental crisis, and indigenous rights. Incorporating themes from both Western science and indigenous mythology, it explores our ability as human beings to overcome cultural differences and form meaningful relationships - and it does so with both artistry and insight. Thomas has created a moving and extremely well-written story that, although set in the Arctic almost forty years ago, can help us learn to live more fully human lives today."

      

    "Thomas is a brilliant writer. She weaves together a love story, a story about life in an Alaskan village, shamanism, spiritual awakening and deep ecology. I am not an easy reader to please and I could not put the book down...(and) am recommending this book to everyone I know." ~ Sandra Ingerman, Soul Retrieval and Medicine For the Earth

     

    "What an extraordinary novel...(Thomas) deals with the shamanism and sorcery in a very realistic way..."
    ~Sacred Hoop Magazine

     

    "This is an absolutely gripping tale - actually a skillful braiding of tales. I was moved by the characters and their fates as I have not been by a novel in a long time. The telling is masterful, the authenticity palpable, and the writing – its pace, color, tone - is exquisite. A remarkable work...a joy, a big broad deep river of a book, a work of substance and great beauty of both vision and style." ~Alaska Press Women Contest judge Richard Hoffman, award-winning author of Half the House, Love & Fury

     

    "Who would you pick from in this list of amazing authors? Seth Kantner, Jodi Picoult, Daniel Quinn, Craig Johnson, Pete Fromm, Kris Farmen, Eowyn Ivey, Bill Streever, Lesley Thomas, David Vann, Jo-Ann Mapson, and Ron Carlson."

                              ~Don Rearden, The Raven's Gift

     

     

    "As a cultural anthropologist studying hunting ontologies in northwest Alaska I was deeply impressed with both the detail and range of Thomas’s book. She provides a rich description of the understatedness and subtlety of contemporary Inupiaq culture while avoiding the pitfall of creating an exotic “Other." ~Dr. Josh Wisniewski, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

     

    "I couldn’t put it down. Sámi scholar Rauna Kuokkanen calls shamanism 'the Indigenous paradigm' and resurrects the word oainnádat to explain it '(It) describes the Sami paradigm or special point of view. It means clear weather or a clear light that makes it possible to see things in nature. I believe the new meaning of oainnádat is to clear your ideas and thoughts in order to see properly.' Kayuqtuq does that." ~ Faith Fjeld, editor of Baiki: the International Sami Journal

     

    "(An) exquisite example of storytelling...(with) a sense of Alaska Native culture and tradition...A well-written page-turner that will warm your heart." ~First Alaskans: a statewide magazine of Native business and culture

     

    "We can't review at this time, but keep up the great work writing books that help the Earth!" ~UTNE

     

     

     

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  • Flight of the Goose news

     

    Jan. 2016 Somewhere in NYC a class set of 15 Flight of the Goose was bought (wonder what school - would be nice to know!!)

     

    Sept. 2016: Flight of the Goose chosen for Buchanan, Michigan library bookclub (along with H is for Hawk, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, God Help the Child)

     

    Nov. 1, 2015: Kindle edition Flight of the Goose reached #1 rank at Amazon

     

    October 2015: I also am the owner/editor of Seattle indie Far Eastern Press and am proud to announce our new book by Alaskan Nancy Danielson Mendenhall about fishing and small boat fishermen and fish in Alaska and the Pacific NW: "Rough Waters" (Far Eastern Press, 2015)

     

    Aug 2015: Somewhere a class has bought copies for Fall Semester -- probably Bethel Alaska (U of Alaska), which has used Flight of the Goose in it's World Literature classes in the past.

     

    June 23, 2015:

    Flight of the Goose reached #1 rank in Kindle editions during June 21-25. On one day 1,736 people got their copy - many in Europe, India, Latin America.

     

    2015: Flight of the Goose listed here in "Planet Earth Books" at University of the Third Age, UK - exciting company such as Rachel Carson!

     

    June 21, 2015: a book giveaway on Goodreads! 3 copies of Flight of the Goose to 3 lucky winners. Winners announced July 21.

     

    May 2015: I like to see tweets about Flight of the Goose, like this one from Canada

     

    March, 2015: Ecologist and book critic of "Arcticisms" cites Flight of the Goose again

     

    2015: Flight of the Goose lands in United Kingdom and Germany

     

    Oct 2014: joined Alaska writers cooperative Running Fox Books

     

    Spring, 2014: Flight of the Goose listed as "cli-fi" (cli-fi, or climate change lit, is the newest sub genre of literature; Flight of the Goose was listed as "eco-fiction" or "deep ecology fiction" in 2005.)

     

     

    2014: My Alaska writing is noted by Melinda Moustakis in her interview "The New Northern Gothic"

     

    Nov 30, 2013: Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle; with Garth Stein I talked up other authors for INDIES FIRST

     

    August, 2013: Flight of the Goose listed in the biblio of Pamela Stern's Historical Dictionary of the Inuit, 2nd Ed. -

    (was used as a textbook at Sterling College in Vermont in Stern's course: "Stories and Storytellers of the Circumpolar North"

     

    My writing is cited in Wikipedia ("Shamanism Among Eskimo Peoples" page)

     

     

    2013: Another of my poems is finalist in Ode to a Dead Salmon contest 2013: "Rime of the Ancient Troller"

     

    2013: Flight of the Goose makes it to Australian Outback: bookstore and women's health clinic; also to Germany, Denmark, UK

     

    2010: Flight of the Goose cited in Daily Life of the Inuit, the first exhaustive study of modern Inuit society across the Far North

     

    Aug. 2012: Alaska Gray Lines puts Flight of the Goose in their recommended list of Best 17 Books Set in Alaska

     

    And famed ecologist blogger Arcticisms takes it with her hiking all over Alaska

     

     

    2012: Inuit Studies Conference - Flight of the Goose got recommended by scholars at this event

     

    March, 2012: My first listing in a European newspaper - Austria Die Press.com recommends Flight of the Goose to readers trying to understand regions of America and our Super Sunday elections

     

    2011: The book made it to the Far North of Norway into the hands of Saami (grandpa Tor would be proud)

    Flight of the Goose now with Kindle!

     

    Nov. 2010; Listed in Mike Ruppert's Collapsenet directory (a site to help people prepare for ecological and economic collapse)

     

    Aug. 2010: alma mater Fairhaven College reunion showcases Flight of the Goose and and an ancient poem I wrote

     

    April 2010: Now nationally distributed (and print on demand, a much greener option)

     

    Winter Semester 2010: University of Alaska Fairbanks class on world lit studies Flight of the Goose for a second term

     

    2010: Two of my short stories appear in University of Alaska Press flash fiction anthology Cold Flashes

     

    November 2009: my short story End Times for Ruby set in modern Nome, Alaska appears in The Northern Review literary journal; Nancy Lord writes that she is "especially wowed" by this story, in her post "Exploring Human Experience in the North".

     

    August 09: my poem "Why as a Mighty Salmon I Will Not Leave" satirizing ex-governor Palin won third place in 49 Writers Ode to a Dead Salmon poetry contest, later appearing in Alaska Magazine

     

     

    April 21, 2009: teleconference on Flight of the Goose with University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Kuskokwim campus

     

    March 9, 2009: interview at 49 Writers, a new blog by and about Alaska writers

     

     

    Spring Semester 2009: A P Biology Class at Peninsula High in Gig Harbor, WA chooses Flight of the Goose for its ecology curriculum

     

    Winter Semester 2009: Boston University Theology Department chooses Flight of the Goose again for its curriculum!

     

     

    Winter Semester 2009: University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus English Department chooses Flight of the Goose for its curriculum

     

     

    Spring Semester 2008: Boston University Theology Department chooses Flight of the Goose for its curriculum

     

    June - Dec 2008, Flight of the Goose displayed and sold at Burke Museum, University of Washington with exhibit The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World

     

     

    June 2007: I am faculty at Kachemak Bay Writers Conference

      

     

    September 9, 2006: National Federation of Press Women Annual Conference; book signing, selling, award ceremony, first place

     

    BOOK CLUBS reading Flight of the Goose (that I know of) include ones in Minnesota, San Diego, Tallahassee, Portland, Port Townsend, Seattle - and in Alaska: Nome, Bethel, Juneau, Glenallen

     

    READINGS INCLUDE:

    Elliot Bay Book Store, Richard Hugo House, UW Bookstore, Third Place Books, Harbor Bookstore, Queen Anne Bookstore, Santoros Books, Seattle Yacht Club (10th Mountain Infantry Division - World War veterans)

     

    Snowgoose Art Gallery, Seattle Metaphysical Library, Soul Foods Books, Secret Garden, All For Kids (and Adults Too), B & Noble,

    Village Books of Bellingham, Friday Harbor, In Other Words Bookstore of Portland

     

    Alaska: Title Wave Anchorage, UAA bookstore, Cook Inlet, Gulliver's Books of Fairbanks, Arctic Trading Post of Nome

    Flight of the Goose:

    a Story of the Far North

                   ISBN 978-0967884219

     

     

    Far Eastern Press, 2005;  2nd ed. 2010

           a reading at University of Alaska

    Lesley in Arctic, 2014

    Flight of the Goose in Austria 

    (Austrian die Presse' endorsement of Flight of the Goose) -  

     

    "Super Tuesday with Mark Twain, Henry James and Patricia Cornwell"  

     

    "A literary journey into the blue on the day of the ten primaries in the United States. The day on which this year reveal the Republicans in ten U.S. states who they want as the next president in Washington, may also be culturally challenging...Is it remote? Alaska! James A. Michener has been immortalized in the 1988 bestselling novel, he takes the reader from ancient times up to Eisenhower. Who wants to get closer to the present, without having to meet Sarah Palin, should be "Flight of the Goose" take into account by Lesley Thomas. She writes about issues in the Arctic Circle in the seventies that are still relevant today."

    Sacred Hoop Magazine review

    "What an extraordinary novel...written with poignant and often amazing insight into Inuit culture, the book is a love story, it is a tale about shamanism, a portrayal of the conflict between cultures, and a glimpse at what happens to the smaller of the cultures when the more dominant one collides with it...Lesley deals with the shamanism and sorcery in a very realistic way so that not once did I feel I had wandered into a fantasy novel where the author was trying to portray 'ancient magic' without any idea what it actually was. In fact the whole book is congruent, compelling, and quite frankly I couldn't put it down." 

    Lesley in Arctic, 1982

    Comments from theology professor at Boston University:

    “I came across Flight of the Goose while looking for stories that conveyed a deep take on the natural world, without idealism or abstraction. But this book was so much more than that. It had a big effect on our (graduate) class. They strongly identified with many characters, (which) are enormously compelling. I think they learned something important about the clash of cultures in that part of the world and…were deeply intrigued by the book's account of shamanic powers.

     

    Thomas very rarely resorts to anything resembling the "god's-eye view" and I can only imagine imagine the discipline that must have taken. It is so easy to fall into artificiality and contrived dialogues when you structure a novel in the way she did, but she avoided that. Her characters are enormously compelling and her picture of village life lucid and complex.

     

     

    A week or two after reading and discussing the book, I brought to class an article on members of an Inupiat village that is suing Big Oil for destroying their traditional lifestyle. The class immediately grasped the significance of the lawsuit, thanks to this novel.”

     

     

    ~Dr. Wesley Wildman, Boston University

              Theology Department

    Lesley (left) fishing in Norton Sound with her mom, 1990s

    Flight of the Goose in Earth Day issue of Bellingham Weekly

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