"Blow up your TV. Throw away your paper. Go into the country. Build you a home. Plant a little garden. Grow a lot of peaches. Try to find Jesus. On your own."
I knew a few folks who tried to live John Prine's verses in the 70's in Tennessee, but the family in Ordinary Wolves did it in wilderness Alaska. This is an enchanting and humbling story of an Anglo boy who grows up with his siblings and father "in camp", miles from an Eskimo town in northwestern Alaska. Cutuk's family lives in a sod igloo, subsists on the caribou heard, rides to town on a dog sled, and recycles everything, including the thread in their clothes. Parallel to the story of Cutuk (or yellow hair, as his Eskimo friends call him) is the story of several generations of a wolf family, which creates a haunting backdrop to the human story. Cutuk's world is defined by his father and his friend Enuk, an elder of the local village, and the culture of the Eskimo town. It is neither a sentimental nor harsh view of their world. All is tied to the natural world and the circles of life and death in the harshest region of our continent. The language is both evocative and frighteningly real.