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Correcting the Landscape: A Novel
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Correcting the Landscape: A Novel

3.16  ·  Rating Details ·  93 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The editor of a small weekly newspaper in Fairbanks, Alaska, Gus Traynor is an independent spirit whose idealism has survived numerous tests. When big business interests threaten the breathtaking wilderness he cherishes, he joins forces with his best friend—an often self-serving developer—to take on the forces of progress. Soon, in his determination to preserve the dignity ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 2006)
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Dec 17, 2009 Shelley rated it really liked it
'Correcting the Landscape' was one of the books I purchased with my new philosophy on buying book... read those which win awards. :)

The cover of this book is a beautiful images of a snow-capped mountain range mirrored in a lake. However on closer inspection of the image, you find that the whole image is actually upside down. This is representative of what I learned from the story: that sometimes the world you look at every day without question is actually upside down from how it should be. :)

nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
Aug 28, 2012 nomadreader (Carrie D-L) rated it really liked it
originally published at

The backstory: Correcting the Landscape won the Bellwether Prize in 2004.

The basics: In Fairbanks, Alaska, Gus runs a newspaper struggling financially, both for the familiar reasons and because of the local advertisers, who increasingly take issue with the paper's political views and are pulling their financial support.

My thoughts: I majored in journalism in college, and I have a fascination with stories about journalists. I'm also fascinate
Laine Cunningham
Oct 13, 2016 Laine Cunningham rated it liked it
I thought this book was better than many of the one- and two-star reviews note. It is about a man's struggle to find himself, really, and to find his own heart. All of the other things that were used to market this book--the touches of native culture and lifeways, the environmental issues, and even the death of the woman--all feed back into this primary concern.

I feel this utilization of these various threads to enhance and expand the character and to both position him for a change and to push
Feb 27, 2010 Lisa rated it it was ok
This book was more about the death of a small community paper than about the investigation of a girl's death. The storyline meandered and for the first half of the book seemed to be going nowhere. The dialog was difficult at times since the characters didn't really have their own voices and was not made any less confusing by one of the characters having the nickname of "No", which seemed to often occur at the beginning of sentences. The main character even notes that No herself mistakenly ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Came across this book while weeding the fiction collection in the library where I work. Cover blurbs made me want to give it a shot. The strength of the narrator's voice and a sense of the fabric of the community in Fairbanks, Alaska were very enjoyable. I also liked the exploration of success/failure, intimacy, family ties, and sense of place.
Sep 04, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it

Simple yet effective execution of what could have been an droll and wanky plot. That's all. (Writing this while hearing Michelle Obama's emotional and inspiring speech}... Go Obama!

P.S. I'm looking for more Kowalski Cole.
A fun read mystery of an idealistic small newspaper editor as he navigates life through his friend an at times self serving developer and an unlikely indigenous woman facing life after 4 failed marriages.

Set in Fairbanks which certainly gave a flavor for the town as it is lived todayl
Shonna Froebel
Jan 19, 2014 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction
Set in Alaska, newspaper editor, environmental issues, ethical issues.
Extremely well written.
I picked up this book thinking that it was an Erin Brokovich-type struggle about a lone journalist taking on big business in trying to defend the land. Instead, the book turned out to have a stretched out plot involving an independent newspaper editor/publisher who struggles to keep his paper afloat. That's part of the book and the other part focuses on relationships - to friends, co-workers, and a lover. All in all this turned out to be a mediocre read. The use of language isn't spectacular and ...more
Another Bellwether award winner. This one was very different from the others in that the main character is a man. It takes place in Alaska which is a new literary setting for me. It is the story of a an independent newspaper editor who is trying to keep his weekly newspaper afloat while opposing big business interests and trying to preserve the Alaskan wilderness and the quality of life for the Native population.
Jan 03, 2008 Venessa rated it liked it
This novel won the Bellwether Prize, which recognizes works of fiction that have a political or environmental statement within them and is the first novel by Cole, as Alaskan writing about Alaskans. An editor of the local small paper finds himself in financial difficulties, falling in love, losing his paper, and torn between ethics and friendship in this slim tome which somehow manages to cover a lot of ground within it's pages.
Kae Cheatham
Novel set in 1980s Alaska. Gus Traynor publishes a weekly newspaper in Fairbanks. The book was "quiet" and touched on some environmental and Alaskan Native issues. It seemed a good portrayal of Alaskan seasons. Competent writing, yet I wasn't overwhelmed with interest and I had to force myself to finish it. I love the title and its tie-in to the story!
Jul 22, 2013 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book was a winner of the Bellwether Prize for fiction for 2004. At 228 pages, I considered it a novella that didn't go into a lot of depth for many of the characters or the community. I liked the protagonist's sense of humor.
Aug 14, 2007 Beth rated it really liked it
not my regular type of book, but I enjoyed it more than I expected. Present day Alaska, people and places were very interesting, well written. I was given the autographed copy by Doug, so I gave it a try, and didn't regret it.
Jul 11, 2007 Fritz rated it liked it
surprising, but clumsy book about damage, pain, and survival. i also have a soft spot for novels about contemporary country life in strip mall america.
Jan 29, 2013 Darci rated it liked it
I liked the straight style and the subtleties of the romances, but I'm not sure if I got the point as she meant it.
Kristin rated it really liked it
Feb 16, 2009
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