Tide, Feather, Snow: A Life in Alaska

Tide, Feather, Snow: A Life in Alaska

Miranda Weiss

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publishing date: Jun 1, 2009

Genre: Autobiography
Quality: 5


Alaska is a place where know-how is currency and a novice's mistakes can kill you. An extreme landscape in both its beauty and challenges, the state is nicknamed "The Last Frontier" with good reason: Here is a paradoxical landscape where boundaries—between community and isolation, bounty and deprivation, conservation and exploitation—are constantly in flux.

But the state has also always been a place for reinvention, a refuge as much for those desperate to escape something as for those on a quest for something else. In Tide, Feather, Snow, Miranda Weiss, a young woman who grew up landlocked in well-kept East Coast suburbs, moves with her boyfriend to Homer, Alaska, where the days are quartered by the most extreme tides in the country, where the years are marked by seasons of fish, and where locals carry around the knowledge of fish, tides, boats, and weather as ballast. At first, she struggles to make a place for herself in this unfamiliar country. But ultimately, Weiss learns the skills to survive on her own, from setting a fishing net to befriending the locals, from jarring rosehip butter to skinning a sea otter.

Weiss's keenly observed prose introduces readers to the memorable people and peculiar beauty of Alaska's vast landscape and takes us on her personal journey of adventure, physical challenge, and culture clash. In the tradition of John McPhee's Coming into the Country, this elegant and affecting memoir is nature writing at its best.