Far Alaska

A novel by Mason Smith

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“… loaded up in a flash and made his getaway. Now, just the right season to be going to Alaska. Cold to start but getting warmer every day, all the way, lot of time to get there, couldn’t have planned it no better. Truck, woman, and all the money in the world, and I know the direction, simple. North-west.”

—from Far Alaska

Mocked and ridiculed in his North Country home for being unable to change with the times, a stubborn, ignorant old man lights out for Alaska at 72, taking with him the daughter of a skinflint farmer he has worked for years back. Clarence knows little of women or of living with anybody or even of living in the present tense, nor does he really know where Alaska is. But he’s given up self-respect and good conduct, he’s on the road across Canada in a pickup truck with a fat and talkative person, determined to sin at last and going into a land he knows only in folk-ballad, the Wild West and Klondike confused. As Clarence and Hesther journey farther and farther toward far Alaska, their partnership blossoms. They astonish themselves (or at least Clarence) in bed. She proves to be a barrel-racer in disguise, a shaman and a mischief, game for anything, while Clarence pushes ahead, surprising them both as he expands with the territory. His long-imagined West comes alive with bank robbery, horse theft, Indians, grizzly bears, trouble in a saloon, gunfire and gold and moral choices. And, when they finally get there, one more gal than you’re allowed back in the lower forty-eight.

“Mason Smith is a special, original writer who has in ‘Far Alaska’ turned his gifts to a late-in-life adventure that is as indiscreet and vital as anything usually ascribed to a more hormone driven, hopeful cast of characters.  Delightful, heartfelt and painfully reassuring.”

–Tom McGuane

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