The Writ and Writings of Kris Farmen

The Devil’s Share

The Devil's Share

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Can we ever own land–or does the land instead possess us? That question underpins this elegantly written account of a young man’s action-filled year in the Wrangell-St. Elias wilderness, where mountains rise to pierce the sky. There he faces dangers hidden behind both the smiles of humans and the beauties of the vast country where Canada and Alaska meet. Jack enters the mountains to work at a lakeside wilderness lodge near his birthplace–a homestead from which his family had been evicted when he was a toddler, as the land became a national park. What starts as a simple summer job helping a family friend with his guiding business becomes a complex struggle for survival among the snares set by bears and glaciers, smugglers and park rangers, bitter weather, and one beautiful, troubled young woman. Jack’s adventure makes for a unique coming-of-age story; a genuine mountain man cannot fit easily into the twenty-first century, and he becomes truly a man out of time.


… highly recommended.
The Midwest Book Review

…a promising debut from someone we’ll hopefully be hearing more from.
David A. James, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The Devil’s Share…crosses multiple literary genres–it’s a Western, with cowboys; it’s pulp, with drugs and murder; it’s a love story; it’s Alaskana, set in the Wrangell–St. Elias wilderness….a quick read, but Farmen (who also writes for this newspaper) crams in the elements of adventure, danger, romanticism and coming of age without the book’s feeling cluttered. Jack’s initial ideology is regularly challenged and adjusted as the book progresses, and when the book ends, that journey lingers with the reader.
–Brendan Joel Kelley, The Anchorage Press