The History of Kate Shugak in 22 Objects – 16

Warning: Spoilers spoken here.

HoZ Kate16

This was a hard one, specifically because of dueling recommendations for the copy of Robert’s Rules of Order Jim gave Kate for Christmas and the fishing line used to commit the murder. Megan said

[Jim] 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.

Beverly agreed

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.

And so did I, until Heather laid out a convincing argument for the fishing line

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.

It is also the murder weapon. So the fishing line it is.


PS–There are many stories of people stringing fishing line and even piano wire to discourage snowmobilers and ATVs from crossing private property, and not just in Alaska. Most are I’m sure apocryphal. Some are not. Like I keep telling you, I don’t have to make this stuff up.

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10 Comments Leave a comment

  1. No comments yet? Well, I’ll state the obvious object, “gold”, but I’ll go with the quintessential Alaskan “old fart”, Sam. Dana commented at one point that if she knew she would be continuing with the Kate series, she would never have killed off Able. While Sam may be the primary in “Though Not Dead “, his death in this book has a profound impact on Kate. She has lost another connection to her heritage.

  2. I want to say Old Sam. I really really want to, and I will, but next month. This month is the mine and its impact on Niniltna, environmentally, socially, criminally and economically. A fairly large part of my day job is reviewing development activities, including environmental impact statements, and reviewing economic impact resulting from large-scale commercial and industrial development. Kate’s ambivalence toward the mine and her recognition of the good it can do for her town and her tribe really resonate with me. The mine itself is neither good nor evil, it simply is-but it serves as a flash point and a blank slate for the expectations of everyone in Niniltna, in Alaska, in mining and resource extraction. The mine’s impact on the aunties was the most visceral and obvious for Kate, but the minute the gold was discovered, the seeds of destruction were planted.

  3. I have collected all the books as they were published and have learned many things from Dana — authors I hadn’t known, more of the indigenous cultures in Alaska, and the references to restaurants and bookstores in Anchorage, and Kaladi Brothers coffee. I’m from Seattle and am glad I can buy it here.
    I’m still sad when I re- read of Emaa’s death, wonder why Jim’s father morphed from a mailman to a lawyer, laugh at some of the political comments, and appreciate Dana;s talent.

  4. I love all the books that Dana has written. I love the stories and books of Kate Shugak she makes her life so exciting. I am waiting for her new book please don’t let Kate die or MUTT.

  5. Money. At the root of the mine is the quest for money no matter what the cost . Money ruins the wild. Money is necessary in modern life but, at what cost to tradition. I live in the U.P. of Michigan on the border of Canada. Within eye site of the reservation. So much of the books could have happened here. My friends that moved to Alaska tell me to move North I would like it. It is like the UP when we were kids. I know folks from away that move here are for the most part just resented even the good ones. I am 68 now and will just stay here. The Money/ greed is what I see in the book.

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