Alaska or Bust and Other Stories. Funny, serious, quirky – the reader is taken off the beaten path on a sub-arctic journey. Meet Luke of Fairbanks, who has a high-running, uncontrollable libido and turns life upside down; Daphne, a vaudeville performer in Dawson City re-enacting the wild and crazy gold rush days of 1898; Giorgio, a fancy Italian tourist, cycling up the Alaska Highway, getting mauled by a bear; Adam facing his childhood abuser; Dottie struggling with Alzheimer’s; Chuck getting lost in the wild. There are 25 stories in total – some are real; some are only partly real. The land is raw and beautiful – it is larger-than-life.
-“Odrach’s tales are both heart-warming and humorous.” – Yukon, North of Ordinary.
From Publishers Weekly
Odrach’s delightfully sardonic novel about the Stalinist occupation of Belarus (eastern Poland) that began in 1939 is rich with history, horror and comedy. The story unfolds in … the villages of the Pinsk Marshes, where peasants who endured czars and Polish conquerors squirm helplessly under the boot of a regime more authoritarian than any they’ve known. Families are sent to labor camps on trumped-up charges; hapless innocents are tortured and executed without explanation. Ivan Kulik, the headmaster of an elementary school … is frustrated with farcical Soviet demands … Ivan … becomes infatuated with the beautiful Marusia Bohdanovich, who incompetently affects Russian airs. Potentially deadly trouble looms for Ivan and Marusia after she catches the eye of a sociopathic secret police lieutenant named Sobakin. There’s a surplus of tragedy, but Odrach finds amid the havoc an affecting thread of humanity. The novel has been skillfully translated into English by Odrach’s daughter.