“There’s about three women up here in Alaska, it seems. And he just got one of them.”


“The Heir and the Spare—there was no judgment about it, but also no ambiguity. I was the shadow, the support, the Plan B. I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy. I was summoned to provide backup, distraction, diversion and, if necessary, a spare part.”


“My parents are not special people, they’re ordinary, and one of my problems is that I’m expecting perfection from ordinary people.”  

Signal Fires

“It was comforting, somehow, sitting beside the small boy who was able to navigate their precise location in the vastness. The stars, rather than appearing distant and implacable, seemed to be signal fires in the dark, mysterious fellow travelers lighting a path; one hundred thousand luminous presences beckoning from worlds away. See us. We are here. We have always been here. We will always be here.”

Once There Were Wolves

 “My father used to say the world turned wrong when we started separating ourselves from the wild, when we stopped being one with the rest of nature, and sat apart.”

Rules for Visiting

“2. I was interested in figuring out who I was with other people, and why that person was hard to be.  I remember my mother, not a great keeper of friends herself, used to say, ‘If you’re comfortable with yourself, you’ll never be lonely,’ which didn’t feel like the whole story.”

Prodigal Summer

“Solitude is a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot, a tug of impalpable thread on the web pulling mate to mate and predator to prey, a beginning or an end.”

The Winners

“Do you want to understand people?  Really understand them?  Then you need to know all the best they are capable of.”

Boy Swallows Universe

“I’m a good man,’ Slim says. ‘But I’m a bad man too. And that’s like all men, kid. We all got a bit o’ good and a bit o’ bad in us. The tricky part is learnin’ how to be good all the time and bad none of the time. Some of us get that right. Most of us don’t.”

Take My Hand

“I wanted to interject, tell the senator that the family didn’t speak out of turn to the government workers. They depended on us too much. They did what we told them or they didn’t get their benefits that month. They let the girls go with Mrs. Seager because they were told to. They signed those papers because they were told to.”