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Seeing the Raven

1999
Author:

Peter M. Leschak

Seeing the Raven

Witty and reflective author Leschak recreates his experience of the northern Minnesota landscape.

Blending contemporary science and keen firsthand observation, Leschak's narrative encompasses a wide range of topics and experiences-fly fishing and wildland firefighting, backyard astronomy and ecology, chain saws and ice skates, turtles and timberwolves. Its moments of pathos and joy unfold against the forbidding and beautiful landscape of northeastern Minnesota, as the author confronts questions that transcend the particulars of his experience. At once humorous and philosophical, rich with anecdotes and allusions, this is a book about death and renewal and a search for meaning along nature's myriad byways.

In Seeing the Raven, Leschak moves from personal nature-oriented narrative, for which he's best known, to the precarious reach of philosophical introspection. It is a move every great writer must take. Leschak does it with wit and wisdom. En route, his range of expression-whether emotional or intellectua

is nothing less than remarkable.” Jim dale Vickery, author of Open Spaces and Wilderness Visionaries

Paperback copy:

The story of a life in Minnesota’s north woods-now in paperback!

In Seeing the Raven, Peter M. Leschak blends humor, philosophy, and a keen sense of nature’s beauty and challenges. Drawing on his many interests-fly-fishing and wild-land fire fighting, backyard astronomy and ecology, chain saws and ice skates, turtles and timberwolves-he confronts questions that transcend the particulars of his experience. Rich with anecdotes and allusions, its moments of pathos and joy unfold against the beautiful, though often forbidding, landscape of northeastern Minnesota. It is a book about death, renewal, and a search for meaning in nature.

"Leschak’s is a captivating vision." Publishers Weekly

"This well-crafted work is a collection of often humorous, sometimes philosophical ruminations on the pleasures of living in an area where lakes outnumber residents and winters last for seven months or longer. Leschak does a superb job of connecting wide-ranging topics such as astronomy, wolves, gardening, and ice harvesting into a cohesive, thought-provoking book that celebrates life in the North Woods." Library Journal


ISBN 0-8166-2430-5 Paper £10.50 $14.95
208 Pages 5 3/8 x 8 15/16 September
Translation inquiries: University of Minnesota Press

Cloth copy:
"It's astonishing that you can live thirty-some years on this planet, and hear a common sound for the first time." That's what Peter Leschak thought when, standing on Secret Lake in northeastern Minnesota under the glow of the aurora borealis, he first heard the snow.
Seeing the Raven is filled with this sense of awakening to a world that seems well known. At once humorous and philosophical, rich with anecdotes and allusions, this is a book about death and renewal and a search for meaning along nature's myriad byways.
Blending contemporary science and keen firsthand observation, Leschak's narrative encompasses a wide range of topics and experiences-fly- fishing and wildland firefighting, backyard astronomy and ecology, chain saws and ice skates, turtles and timberwolves. Its moments of pathos and joy unfold against the forbidding and beautiful landscape of northeastern Minnesota, as the author confronts questions that transcend the particulars of his experience. Provocative and deeply thoughtful, witty and always engaging, Seeing the Raven provides readers with a fresh perspective on timeless human concerns and conditions.

Peter M. Leschak is a freelance writer who lives in northeastern Minnesota. His collection of essays, Letters from Side Lake, is published in paperback by the University of Minnesota Press (1992). His other books include Bumming with the Furies (1993) and The Bear Guardian (1990), which won a Minnesota Book Award.


(Excerpt)
The howling was so loud I flinched. I spun around to face west, fully expecting to see a wolfpack across the lake. That's what I wished-to glimpse black shapes sprinting across the ice in the moonlight. For an instant my heart surged when I imagined it was true. But no, the cluster of shapes on the far shore were only humps of sphagnum. The timberwolves were back in the trees, or perhaps on the neighboring lake. But their baying and wailing charged my body to an electric pitch of acuity. I was hearing the music of wilderness-a song of sinew, blood, and gray fur. If there's a Creator, then this was one of the voices of God.

• National publicity campaign
• Regional author tour
• Advance reviewer galleys
• Electronic media interviews


Seeing the Raven

Peter M. Leschak is the author of Letters from Side Lake (1992) and The Snow Lotus (1996), both published by the University of Minnesota Press. His other books include Hellroaring (1996), Bumming with the Furies, (1993) and The Bear Guardian (1990).

Seeing the Raven

In Seeing the Raven, Leschak moves from personal nature-oriented narrative, for which he's best known, to the precarious reach of philosophical introspection. It is a move every great writer must take. Leschak does it with wit and wisdom. En route, his range of expression-whether emotional or intellectua

is nothing less than remarkable.” Jim dale Vickery, author of Open Spaces and Wilderness Visionaries

“Leschak is a freelance writer and part-time firefighter who lives in a log cabin he built in the woods of northeastern Minnesota. This well-crafted work is a collection of often humorous, sometimes philosophical ruminations on the pleasures of living in an area where lakes outnumber residents and winters last for seven months or longer. Leschak does a superb job of connecting wide-ranging topics such as astronomy, wolves, gardening, and ice harvesting into a cohesive, thought-provoking book that celebrates life in the North Woods. Highly recommended for all public nature and local collections.” Library Journal

Leschak opens this collection of essays-reprinted from Country Journal, the New York Times, etc

with a fantasy of his dying in the snow with ravens acting as funeral directors. He writes about life and death in the boggy wilderness of northeastern Minnesota where winter temperatures dip to -50˚F. Leschak describes the nearly forgotten art of ice-cutting, observing that six people can harvest and store almost five tons of ice in three hours. In one piece he sings a song of praise to the chain saw; in another he discusses the problems of gardening in a cold climate where the first sign of spring is the patch of bare ground over the septic tank. Other topics are backyard astronomy, firefighting, wolves, dogs and local wildlife. Leschak’s is a captivating vision.” Publishers Weekly