The Alaskan Laundry
Both in fiction and in reality, Alaska is the last frontier, a place one can get lost, test one’s character, and pit oneself against the natural world without the comfort of a safety net or technology. The Alaskan Laundry, authored by Brendan Jones, is the tale of a quest made by his heroine, Tara Marconi, who leaves behind a troubled life in Philadelphia. Following her mother’s death, she is in search of finding herself and finding a new place to call home.
The main character’s journey takes her to the lose-yourself remoteness of Alaska, where she moves to a small island called The Rock. Here, she is tested by the raw seasons as she works through the ranks of commercial crab fishing. Along the way she takes to the sea and buys a WWII tugboat that she restores as a liveaboard. As she climbs the ranks from hatchery assistant to fishing, Deadliest Catch-style, her journey shows a spiritual rebirth, a shedding of her past, and along with it the troubled life she left behind. The Alaskan Laundry relies heavily on maritime themes, centered around both fishing and boating, and for those who enjoy diving into the nautical world head first, this tale is an engaging story of transformation and nostalgia.
Jones, too, lives in Alaska, but the similarities with his fictional creation don’t end there. After moving from Philadelphia, the author bought, lives on, and is in the process of restoring a WWII tugboat. He also worked his way through the ranks of the Alaskan fishing industry. Jones shows a deft hand by relating his real-life experiences using a believable and captivating female protagonist. What he brings us throughout The Alaskan Laundry is that we begin to understand ourselves best when surrounded by community rather than solitude.