A first person account of when you can ""really begin to live"" (the children married and away, the war over and an opportunity to do what you want) is dominated by Vady's ambition to be his own man, to live off the land -- and to do it in Alaska. Beth, thinking it a short term proposition, makes the best of living in a wanigan (floating bunk house), becomes an unwilling navigator and pilot when they reclaim the Stinky, and has a full time job when Vady buys the Emblem, a troller for fishing. She gives a most personal report on their discouragements as they travel from Ketchikan to Wrangell, in and out of coves, harbors and anchorages, on their excitement when king size fish are caught, on the grueling daily schedules when the fishing is good and the catch rewarding, on the conflict between Vady's delight in a dream come true and her despair over a way of life that terrifies her (she is afraid of water), exhausts her, and is far from her dream (a quiet existence in a house on land). But their first season shows a profit -- and, although she has run away from it, she is ready to go back, this time on a fish buying scow. A close-up of a type of Alaskan living, this is a colorful portrayal of the coastal areas, the fishermen, history at first hand from Indians,- and of an established marriage that still has its quota of adjustments. The sudsy femininity here will not attract every member of her sex.