In "The Fisherman's Quilt," young Nora Hunter comes to Alaska with her fisherman husband and new baby. She brings her first, fancy quilt to Kodiak Alaska, along with an idealistic vision of how she will live in America's last frontier. She will be a good person, a cherished wife, a good mother.
But almost as soon as she arrives, her husband Matt leaves to go on a fishing boat, and doubts enter Nora's life as she encounters the dark side of Kodiak culture -- drunkenness, isolation, recklessness, depression, instability and drug-taking.
Nora tells her story in first-person narrative and introspection. She struggles with the danger, loneliness, and ambition of her life; while her husband is gone for increasingly long periods at sea, she makes quilts celebrating weddings and births, new homes and fresh starts.
All the while she is worrying about Matt being at sea, longing for him to come home, and struggling to be a good mother in the midst of her insecurity and loneliness.
She realizes that she can create her own happiness and add to her community by making something beautiful every day, whether it be a quilt, or music, or a picnic.
"The Fisherman's Quilt" addresses Nora's self-exploration and discovery that courage has an everyday currency.
This report prepared by Dan Stevens