The History of Kate Shugak in 20 Objects – 15

Warning: Spoilers spoken here.

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I’m just gonna cut and paste Megan’s comment in its entirety here. As Penny said, she truly did drop the mike.

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My heart always breaks a little when I write about Willard. He is the innocent victim of a disease we see all too often here in Alaska. That doesn’t mean he can’t be manipulated to be dangerous. But it isn’t Vader he carries around in his pocket, it’s Anakin.

[PS–Willard, and Howie, that little weasel, return in Kate21. So you know.]


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The 21st Kate Shugak novel, coming May 6, 2017.


23 thoughts on “The History of Kate Shugak in 20 Objects – 15

  1. Tough one, fishing line or Robert’s Rules of Order. Fishing line because it was so easy for the murderer to get. Robert’s Rules of Order, a gift from Jim. I like the book because Jim knew how really stupid Kate felt after not really knowing how to run the NNA Board meeting. What a really nice thing for him to do for Kate.

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  2. Click on edit at the bottom of your comment, Ginger. If edit isn’t there (it may only be in my editorial interface), at your request I can delete your comment and you could repost.

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  3. Megan says:

    Willard breaks my heart every time we see him.
    Robert’s Rules gets my vote, because it shows how very well Jim gets Kate. I adored Jack, don’t get me wrong, but I think Jim always understood Kate better. He knew, in this instance how completely out of her element she was, and found a way to let her take back control for herself. Not through giving her authority, or patronizing her, but finding a tool that he could give her, that if she chose, she could use effectively to gain advantage. And bonus-it’s a book! Jim, incidentally, is an awesome gift-giver. I want him to call my mom before next Christmas and give her a list.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beverly Ricketts says:

    Agree with Megan also. The best means of teaching someone to do something is to give them the tools to do it with. It shows your faith in them and their ability. I really do love Jim and his son, they are the best thing that has ever happened to Kate.

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  5. Pat faulkner says:

    Not the proper place perhaps, but is there ever going to be a next book to follow the shooting of Kate – does she live, does her wonderful dog live? Have been waiting 2 years and there are new series but Kates is up in limBo? ?

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  6. Helen Ratcliffe says:

    I love Megan’s comments! She is so right. For this book I agree with everything Megan said. I was going to go with something else – but the good thing is it will keep! For now it’s Jm’s gift.

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  7. I’ve thought often of entering items into the history of Kate Shugak in 20 objects; but each time I go to enter, I look at previous entries, and always think “gee, they said it better than I ever could have”, and just read and enjoy others’ thoughts. This time, I did not look at previous entries, (thought I’d just go for it, hehe), so please excuse if folks have already come up with the object I’m thinking of, and/or said it better than I could 🙂

    I have truly loved rereading these books every month in advance of the 20 object discussion. It’s like visiting an old friend who I adore, reminiscing for a bit. (It’s also an exercise in self-control, as I only get ONE a month, argh!!!) As I read, I admit I’m reading with a slightly different purpose; trying to see if any object jumps out which really ties the story together.

    For this month, for this book, for me, it is the fishing line. The ubiquitous spool of fishing line that Kate finds in Auntie’s catch all basket; the fishing line that Auntie uses to nearly magically restore the drift net to full strength; the fishing line which takes a life (rather gruesomely, but in all honesty – I could really see the scene!). I admit, that in my own life (down here in Southern California), I ALWAYS have a spool or two of fishing line around the house. I’ve used it for sewing my daughters’ Girl Scout patches onto their vests; and then later awards onto their Letterman Jackets. (Growing up, my mother even used it to sew her belly dancing costumes, although she never danced in the Roadhouse…). When my eldest daughter was married this past September, I used fishing line to string over 100 individual tiny LED lights in the bushes, to transform a campsite in Big Sur, into a fairytale landscape fit for a wedding night dinner. (Some of the guests then took a handful of them each, creating little chandeliers in their tents, magical lights floating above them in the dark-thank you fishing line!). I’m not sure what my husband uses it for – he doesn’t fish (and I’m probably better off NOT knowing); but occasionally he will ask me for my spool of fishing line to use in the garage. Although not to the extent that I am sure that it used in Alaska, fishing line helps me to hold little parts of my own life together. Thus, every time I came across it this time, it was an AHA moment. The fishing line weaved itself throughout Whisper to the Blood, pulling it all together.

    I also felt that the fishing line itself, is almost a metaphor for the Aunties. The fishing line keeps the drift nets together, much as the aunties keep The Park together. The fishing line is strong, it is tough, it is almost invisible as it does it’s job. The same can be said for the Aunties. They are strong, they are tough, and invisibly they are working behind the scenes in The Park (as well as out in front in Bernie’s Roadhouse), but they are the indelible force which holds the community together. When they tried to stretch their reach further than they should have (offering a bounty for Louis’ death; having the Grosdidier brothers take care of the snow machine bandits); they were not as effective. If fishing line alone was used in the drift net, it would most likely fail. If it was used without the trees, and a quickly moving snow machine, it would not have been deadly. However, using it for its strength, to help hold the net together, it becomes one with the net, as the Aunties are one with The Park. The fishing line can be deadly, as it was when MacLeod was decapitated, as when the Aunties offered a bounty for Louis’ life. The fishing line can also be life giving, when it helps catch enough fish for subsistence living to continue; as the Aunties give their guidance for generations of Park Rats.

    I’m sorry, I’m probably reading too much into the fishing line…and the Aunties… but for me, the fishing line is the Object for Whisper to the Blood. (Although, having served on a council seat myself for too many years, Robert’s Rules is an EXTREMELY close second!). Hope this wasn’t way too long.

    Heather Cowan

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    • The fact that you took this much time and effort and put this much thought into your choice of object? No apology necessary, Heather. Thank you!

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  8. Susan Doran says:

    Heather. Thank you. So well thought out and written. I second your choice for all the reasons you stated. As my grandmother would have said “don’t be hiding your light under a bushel”.

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  9. Megan says:

    I’m going to stick with my Robert’s Rules vote, but Heather just made that a *really* tough call. Very well thought out comments, very well reasoned argument.

    Liked by 1 person

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