The sea runners

Ivan Doig

Book - 2006

The story of four indentured servants in Czarist Russia in 1853 who escape and travel to freedom by canoe. In 1853, four Scandinavian indentured laborers in Russian Alaska steal a canoe and begin to paddle south toward the mouth of the Columbia River, twelve hundred miles away.

Saved in:
This item has been withdrawn.

1st Floor Show me where

All copies withdrawn
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Doig Ivan Withdrawn
A Harvest book
Sea stories
Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt 2006.
1st Harvest ed
Item Description
Originally published: [New York] : Atheneum, 1982.
Physical Description
275 pages : illustrations, map ; 21 cm
Main Author
Ivan Doig (-)
Review by Booklist Review

To escape cruel Russian masters, four indentured Swedish laborers struggle down the Pacific Northwest Coast in a tiny, hand-made canoe from Sitka, Alaska, to Astoria, Oregon. The novel is based on an 1853 newspaper report. [BKL S 1 82]

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Kirkus Book Review

A tense, shrewdly modulated sea adventure in which a quartet of indentured Scandinavians attempt escape from Russian America (1853 Alaska) in a stolen canoe, a Pacific journey far more rugged ""than the plain arithmetic of its miles."" Of the four, only one is seaworthy at the start, but each pulls his own as they paddle through snowstorms and dangerous straits, consume their rations and personal reserves. Melander is the beached seaman who conceives the plan and navigates; Karlsson's the quiet, constant mate; Braaf is the camp thief who outfits the voyage (he remains the least developed of the lot). And Wennberg, his trigger ""always this close to click,"" is the bitter, volcanic fourth who muscled in; kept in check by Melander, he adds a blacksmith's strength to the paddling. But Melander is killed in the sole encounter with coastal tribesmen, and Karlsson, Wennberg's chief antagonist, must take over for the fugitive alliance to hold: he alone can read the map. Doig deftly pilots this mismatched crew through a punishing journey to Astoria (Oregon), maintaining a high level of tension, including casual portions of history and geography (as handily as in Winter Brothers), testing the rocky emotional waters of desperate men. The two squabblers nearly attempt a communion, but the moment ""quickened past them"": the shaky truce resumes. And readers who hailed This House of Sky and Winter Brothers will find this another safe harbor, for Doig continues as a prose writer of exulting originality. (Verbs become nouns, nouns become verbs, and observations resonate: the reserved Karlsson is ""A man built smoke-tight."") Distant cousin to Deliverance--the writing is more lyrical, the crew less fiercely manipulated: a polished chronicle of physical and spiritual endurance. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.