A first novel.
On impulse, Jenna Rosen leaves the party she and her real estate developer husband, Robert, are attending in Seattle, takes his BMW and drives north to Bellingham. Again on impulse, she hops on the ferry to the Alaskan town where her Tlingit Indian grandmother lived and died. But there's more than impulse at work here: Jenna and Robert's 5-year-old son, Bobby, drowned in Alaska just two years ago, and something is drawing Jenna back to the scene. On the ferry, she's given a carved silver charm of a Tlingit spirit called a kushtaka, a stealer of souls. "Tlingits don't have good and evil," a local shaman explains, telling the story of how the spirit known as Raven gave the world the sun, moon, and stars by stealing them from someone else. As Jenna learns more about the kushtakas, helped by this very sophisticated shaman and an understanding fisherman, she begins to believe that her son's soul is being held captive by these spirits, as revenge for her husband's greed. Garth Stein's persuasive prose draws us into a book that mixes fantasy with tragedy and the natural human desire for closure.