Why did I love this book?
Kantner’s book, from 2004, is the first literary novel, in my judgment, to present an authentic view of contemporary Alaska.
The story (thinly disguised from the author’s own life) is told by a white boy growing up in a remote northern part of Alaska, living with his family as an earlier generation of Inupiaq people did. The boy fits in with neither the modernizing Inupiaq of a nearby village nor the white world, although he is very much at ease with the natural world and the skills his life demands.
When he later tries city life, the contrast is stark and painful. Kantner presents both worlds in exquisite detail as he explores larger themes about values, choices, and human relationships. Ordinary Wolves won the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.