Monday, May 5, 2014

Armchair Spectator

I was impressed by the writing and vivid imagery in “Kayaking Among the Ice Children.” Even the title grabs my attention and makes me think of the writer as someone who is very reflective and has great attention to detail. The title reflects Cahill’s concern for the scene around him and the context behind the scene. He brings past and present together in his narrative, but I wish he ended the narrative on a personal note rather than a note of the past: “In the far distance, there was the faint thunder of Shaw-whad-seet’s children, of the new land being born.” I was more captivated by the first half of the narrative because Cahill introduces some tension with the orcas, who he calls “wolves of the sea,” and builds the tension up, but then he lets it go with his description of the Tlingit Indians that he fleshes out throughout the rest of the narrative. I would have liked Cahill to tie the orca tension into his ending, which suggests I have a desire, as an armchair adventurer, to be handed a pretty wrapped package at the end of the story. Despite my desire for an alternate ending, I got a lot out of this narrative in the sense that the writing was so captivating and telling of the narrator’s inner thoughts and feelings. I don’t think I will forget the line about Cahill calculating his resemblance to a harbor seal because I felt like I was a spectator of his inner thoughts. 

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