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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

‘He is 26, and for as long as he’s lived in the north there has been only the Aleut woman. Sev­eral evenings a week he comes to her door with a duck or a rab­bit and she asks him in. Not asks, ex­actly. She opens the door and steps aside so he can en­ter. She lives in a frame house ham­mered to­gether fast out of boards and tar paper, a house like all the oth­ers in An­chor­age, ex­cept it isn’t on First or Fourth or even Ninth Street; in­stead it is off to the east, ma­rooned on the mud flats. But she has things in it, like any­one else, a ta­ble and two chairs, flour and tea on a shelf, a hat hang­ing from a peg. She wears a dress with but­tons and she cooks at a stove, and the two of them eat be­fore, and then af­ter she sits cross-legged in the tub and smokes her pipe. She smokes, and he watches her smoke. He thinks her mouth may be the most beau­ti­ful part of her; not red, not brown or mauve or pink, but a colour for which he has no name.’

KATHRYN HAR­RI­SON THE SEAL WIFE (2002)

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