A rootless young woman travels to a stormy island.
Brandy—a natural blonde who likes to believe she was named after liquor—is an emotional cowboy. As the offspring of the ill-fated match between a failed scholar father and a roving femme fatale mother, she’s used to being a wanderer. After years of following men from town to town, she knows that she is a drifter, but when she follows her latest fling to a fishing village in the Aleutian Islands, she’s reached a whole new level of rootlessness. Her boyfriend spends long stretches at sea, and as Brandy settles into the odd pace of life at the edge of the world, she’s got a lot of time for self-examination. It’s not all unpleasant: As the days pass, Brandy works as a cocktail waitress in the town’s one notorious bar, does lines with a coke whore named Bellie and meets the town’s fishermen and Aleuts. In between, while living in a small cabana, she has time to read up on the history of the island’s people. She also has a lot of time to think about her past, to retrace her own adventures—and to plan her next move. Meanwhile, in less than successful fashion, Dyson weaves in a Clan of the Cave Bear–esque subplot about survival and ancient hunting practices, the arrival of the Russians and the remarkable resilience of Aleutian women. As the two plots come together, Brandy uncovers secrets about herself and the Aleuts. It might all be too clichéd if Brandy weren’t so likable and wild and her surroundings so oddly compelling.
A spunky voice and a strange landscape make for a very readable debut.