The History of Kate Shugak in 22 Objects – 9

WARNING: Spoilers spoken here.


This time it was almost unanimous. It’s Kate’s braid.

This braid graciously provided by my niece, Angelique. She's not going to cut hers off, though.
Photo of braid graciously provided by my niece, Angelique. She’s not going to cut hers off, though.

Marty hit the nail head on in her comment. Kate seldom does anything for only one reason. That braid was just too convenient a handle by which to be dragged around, and Kate gives no edge to the bad guys. Even more important in that moment, and as many of you pointed out, a woman cutting her hair is a sign of mourning in many cultures.

Besides, shorter hair is easier to care for, and Kate practices pragmatism like she took a vow. Easy, expedient, practical, these are words by which she lives.

And let’s face it, she’s not the vainest person you ever met. Her self image is not bound up in her hair.

Although I love Megan’s vote for duct tape. It does indeed bind the universe together. I mean, have you seen The Martian?

I like Laura’s comment about hunting, too. I visited the Purdey store in London back in the day. My ambition was to buy a pair of Purdey shotguns for my father, but he died before I could save up enough money. They were very nice to me in spite of my jeans and tennis shoes, and it was lovely to at least dream big there for a while.

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Chatter Kate Shugak The History of Kate Shugak in 22 Objects

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19 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’m glad that Angelique isn’t planning on cutting off her braid, it is beautiful! For Midnight Come Again, it has to be the planes. The description of the variety of airplanes that fly in and out of the airstrip in Bering reads like a history of Alaska air transportation. Stephanie will be appearing in a future Kate book, won’t she? I’ve wondered what happened to her.

  2. The airport, place of something new coming in…renewal. Glad Hunter’s Moon was not the end. I’ve already lost Sookie Stackhouse, can’t lose Kate too!….Dora Reed, Arizona

  3. I can easily understand how “Hunter’s Moon” could have been the last of the Kate Shugak series. Did you kill Jack Morgan off because you were afraid of a happily ever after ending? I was devastated when Jack died. I kept saying, “Dana can’t have done this”.

  4. Yes, planes! From the mighty Herc to the worker bee planes and down to my selection for the “object”, which is Stephanie’s RC plane. Not only did it help in saving Jim and Kate but it was the symbolic device with which Stephanie could fly away (if you will) from the mores of her culture and look forward to the chance to excel (with a little help from Kate). Great book and am so glad you did not stop at Hunter’s Moon. Your books keep getting better, i.e. Though Not Dead, not an easy trick for an author of a series.

  5. What Marty said and for the same reasons. 🙂 So glad you did not stop at Hunters Moon as there was so much more to Kate’s story and despite everything Kate eventually emerges as a stronger person and survives something she at times probably felt she couldn’t. We end up admiring her even more.

  6. Yes, the planes have my vote too. So Alaskan and such a large part of the story. This was the book that broke my heart. Kate was so sad and so lost. Jim’s reaction to finding her and seeing how devistated she was made me cry just as much as Jack dying in Hunters Moon.

  7. It has to be planes…planes drive the plot, they are central to Chopper Jim actually running in to Kate, and they are mentioned often enough in the other books.

  8. I think the first thing that is important is Baird Air, it is Kate’s refuge. Also, the Piper Super Cub that Stephanie made, it connects her to her Grandmother’s lover. And Stephanie to Kate. And the C-130 has to be added in.

  9. Yes, definitely the planes. So important to both Kate and Jim. And it is Jim that gives more meaning to Kate’s life after Jack. Can’t wait for number 21!

  10. I agree, planes. So essential in Alaskan life. For most of us, a plane ride is a rare luxury for special occasions. For rural Alaskan life, it’s a necessity! And Kate interactions with planes has been extremely varied. From working at Baird Air, to interesting and frightening flights, and let’s not forget the engine smashing her truck! Yes, Kate has experienced aviation from all angles.

  11. A Trooper hat or uniform. It’s absence in Midnight Come Again is almost as startling as Kate’s missing braid. This is the book where Kate starts to fall for Choppin even if she doesn’t know it yet, and we get our first good glimpse of the tale told from his perspective. Otherwise, the Herc. “With a runway that would accommodate a Herc, anything was possible.”

  12. My Dad, sitting up all night under a little piper cub with a hot pot so the plane would start the next morning AND so he could cage a ride on said plane….wanted to get home for Christmas…

  13. For once I’m not bucking the trend! Although my vote is for two specific planes, the Herc and Stephanie’s Piper Cub. Lifesavers both.

  14. This was tough, as there wasn’t a specifically “Kate” object in this book, but I’d have to go with the planes. I think Marty said it best, especially getting the symbolism of Stephanie’s model, as well as its key role in the plot.
    I also have to add, as a small plane owner, and spouse of a pilot (we’ve been to all 50 states and several foreign countries in our four-seat Piper Warrior), that the scene of Jim flying the C-130 is one of the most breathtaking (literally — I think I stopped breathing the first time I read it) bits of aviation writing I’ve ever come across.

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