JIMMY BLUEFEATHER

Kim Heacox

National Outdoor Book Award Winner

“Don’t die before you’re dead.” –Old Keb

Keb Wisting is somewhere around ninety-five years old (he lost count) and in constant pain and thinks he wants to die. He also thinks he thinks too much. When his grandson, James, a promising basketball player, ruins his leg in a logging accident and feels he has nothing left to live for, Keb comes alive. Together with a rogue’s gallery of colorful characters and a dog named Steve, they embark on a canoe journey deep into wild Alaska and into the human heart,

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National Outdoor Book Award Winner

“Don’t die before you’re dead.” –Old Keb

Keb Wisting is somewhere around ninety-five years old (he lost count) and in constant pain and thinks he wants to die. He also thinks he thinks too much. When his grandson, James, a promising basketball player, ruins his leg in a logging accident and feels he has nothing left to live for, Keb comes alive. Together with a rogue’s gallery of colorful characters and a dog named Steve, they embark on a canoe journey deep into wild Alaska and into the human heart, in a story of adventure, love, and reconciliation.

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  • Alaska Northwest Books
  • Paperback
  • June 2016
  • 564 Pages
  • 9781943328710

Buy the Book

$16.99

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About Kim Heacox

Kim Heacox is an award-winning author and photographer. He lives in Alaska and is the author of several books written with a strong sense of place. When not playing the guitar or doing simple carpentry, he’s sea kayaking with his wife, Melanie.

Praise

“[A] splendid, unique gem of a novel.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Part quest, part rebirth, Heacox’s debut novel spins a story of Alaska’s Tlingit people and the land, an old man dying, and a young man learning to live.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Heacox does a superb job of transcending his characters’ unique geography to create a heartwarming, all-American story.” —Booklist

“What makes this story so appealing is the character Old Keb. He is as finely wrought and memorable as any character in contemporary literature and energizes the tale with a humor and warmth that will keep you reading well into the night.” —National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA)

“Every page glistens with authentic genius born from Kim Heacox’s wise and deep-rooted sense of place … The characters seem like people we’ve known; they ring true, and feel vivid.” —Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

“This is not just a well-crafted picture of an elder; it is unforgettable, in the direct lineage of The Old Man and the Sea.—Doug Peacock, author of In the Shadow of the Sabertooth

Discussion Questions

1. Were you immediately hooked by Keb Wisting and drawn into the story or did you have a hard time relating to this unique character? Why?

2. Alaska roots this novel and plays a large part in the overall story line. How does the perception of Alaska as a mysterious and remote place play a part? Why can’t the story have happened anywhere else?

3. Discuss the transformation of the relationship between Keb and James as the story evolves.

4. How does the struggle between tribal and environmental issues affect the story? If similar conflicts are happening where you live, what impacts have they had on you?

5. How does Jimmy Bluefeather shed light on Alaska Native tradition and perception of family and place? How are they caught between times and places and how are they meshing them together?

6. Is there a symbolism between James and the Canoe?

7. What do you think Steve the dog adds to the story?

8. Can you imagine yourself as a character in Jimmy Bluefeather? If so, which one? Or would you be a new character? What role would you play in the story?

9. There are numerous quotes in the book that Kim Heacox has dubbed “Kebisms”—which, if any, resonate for you?

10. If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know? (Feel free to contact Kim Heacox direct @JimmyBluefeather on Facebook.)