I have been working with Don Rearden since he queried me for a novella entitled Permafrost Heart on March 23 of 2006. I loved the story that blended unique glimpses of the “bush” country and the people of Alaska that Don so clearly loves told in cuts and flashes reminiscent of the film “Momento.”
Alas, the novella did not sell. (how many do?) But over the years Don kept writing, working, and disappearing into the bush only to return each time an even better writer. His next book, a novel entitled The Raven’s Gift, eventually followed and is a true revelation of the beauty and horror of his world.
For several years Don’s fiction, like private dispatches from the edge of the world, have always thrilled and shocked me and often made me cry. But now, finally after so much of Don’s hard work and so many revisions, I get to share his amazing work with others…
The Raven’s Gift was published by Pintail, Penguin Group this summer. And judging from this amazing review by Michael Dirda in The Washington Post Don is finally getting the accolades and growing readership he deserves.
Any number of writers could have produced a fine literary novel about a young couple discovering Yup’ik culture. But only an exceptional writer could write that fine literary novel and then relegate it to backstory, using its fragments to heighten the eeriness and drama of what is an intense thriller. And yet “The Raven’s Gift” also remains a love story — in fact, two love stories. What more could you ask? — Michael Dirda, The Washington Post.