Here is a writer who truly has everything—clean and radiant prose; unforgettable characters; formal designs for story after story that are innovative yet utterly readable. All of this happens, moreover, in a thrilling setting, on Alaskan homesteads and waterways where beauty and danger color even the most ordinary day. Moustakis’ women are brave and tough, but full of heart in every sense of the term. Her men can do everything the wilderness asks of them, except love themselves enough to stop drinking. Bear Down Bear North will be an indispensable collection, not only to read but to teach.
—Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule and winner of the National Book Award
Every so often—make that all too rarely—a work of fiction that is rooted in place appears in which the very language–natural and elemental—seems as much a feature of the terroir as the weather, soil, trees, rivers. Writers of the American South—Twain, Faulkner, O’Connor, Welty—come immediately to mind. Bear Down Bear North is set a long way from the American South. But Melinda Moustakis has, in her debut collection of linked stories, written such a book.
—Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago
Melinda Moustakis has oceans of talent. This portrait of the creatures, human and otherwise, that inhabit the rough edges of Alaska is unrelenting and sometimes even merciless, but never at the expense of the real emotion contained therein. Her prose is full of the same deep beauty, the same ancient rhythms and cadences of the big spaces she is describing: mountain, glacier, river and sky.
—Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness
Bear Down Bear North has a tooth-and-claw sensibility that brings to mind Jim Harrison and Elwood Reid. Immediately I was lost in the hard poetry of the sentences, lost in the wilds of Alaska, lost under the whiskey spell of a writer who knows how to wield a knife, a rifle, a fishing reel as well as she does her sharply honed language. I am completely in love with the stories of Melinda Moustakis.
—Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding