author in long ago times Lesley Thomas
lesleygt (at)


My new author website at Strikingly

Shaman's Drum review

Goodreads page

reader raves

ecological work

book cover

Notice: THIS SITE WILL SOON BE GONE. See my new site (link is over on the left)

I grew up in the Alaskan Arctic in a cross-cultural family blending ancient and new traditions, and as an ecologist I studied the effects of oil spills on northern salt marshes. Notice: this website will soon be gone! See my new site (link is on the left)

Flight of the Goose - set in a fictional Inupiat village in 1971 - was inspired by my life experience and extensive research. The framing story is the relationship that connects a young female shaman, a traditional hunter and a draft-dodging ecologist.

Flight of the Goose is shelved in stores under literary fiction, Alaskana, multicultural fiction, spiritual literature, eco-fiction, and cli-fi (climate change fiction).

Look for my short stories with circumpolar in The Northern Review Nov '09 and Cold Flashes (University of Alaska Press, 2010).

Scroll down for news and events

Flight of the Goose: A Story of the Far North ISBN 0967884217, Far Eastern Press Paperback, 432 pp.

FIRST PLACE WINNER of the National Federation of Press Women Communications Award

FIRST PLACE WINNER of the Washington Press Association Communicator of Excellence in Fiction Award

FIRST PLACE WINNER of Alaska Press Women Communications Award

Finalist for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award

Flight of the Goose has been studied at Boston University (theology), University of Alaska, University of Washington, North Slope School District, Sterling College in Vermont, Washington State high schools (ecology), and by students of Sandra Ingerman and book clubs the world over.

I was faculty at Kachemak Bay Writers Conference 2007

Flight of the Goose is recommended by 2012 Inuit Studies Conference; shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman; Alaska Gray Lines (listed in "Top 17 Books set in Alaska"; Cli-Fi Books; John Marshall, book critic for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer; First Alaskans Magazine; Die Presse newspaper of Austria; Endicott Studio of Mythic Arts; Sacred Hoop Magazine; Shaman's Drum Journal; Women's Fiction Book blog ;New Connexion Magazine; Bookslut; Die Presse of Austria, arctic ecologists, birders, book clubs and literary critics

Listed as a source or publication of note in Historical Dictionary of the Inuit 2nd Ed. 2013, and Daily Life of the Inuitby Pamela Stern, 2010;Cultural Survival Quarterly; Feminist Studies Journal and Collapsenet

Go to raves from top Amazon reviewers

Sold in June '08 at the University of Washington's Burke Museum in conjunction with "The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World"

The event at U of Alaska bookstore

a mention by author Melinda Moustakis

on the syllabus at Boston University, Theology Dept.

and inAuthors Den

a recommendation by Terri Windling at The Endicott Studio of Mythic Arts

a review in ornithologist blog

Alaska Public Radio interview

review in Curled Up With A Good Book

review in Bookslut

review in Front Street Reviews

review in Compulsive Reader

review in BookLoons

review in Armchair Interviews

review by Joanna Harcourt Smith, editor of

review in Pele Publications

review in BookBuffet

a blogger's review in PussReboots

My short story of Arctic teens "End Times For Ruby" in Northern Review Journal

Look for upcoming review of Flight of the Goose in Baiki, The International Sami Journal

Calendar of author events below

award-winning arctic novel

climate change, cultural conflict, , scientists, shamans, birds, Big Oil, war, love and other matters of the Far North

Inupiaq elder and author Fred Bigjim describes it as “a novel about triumph over despair, maturity gained through pain, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. …Thomas's characters seem drawn from life, believable, memorable, tragic and hopeful...Flight of the Goose is a remarkable achievement.”

"(An) exquisite example of storytelling...(with) a sense of Alaska Native culture and tradition...A well-written page-turner that will warm your heart."
~First Alaskans: a statewide magazine of Native business and culture

A wonderful tale." ~Randall Howell, editor of Arctic Sounder

From arctic anthropologist Dorothy Jean Ray, author of A Legacy of Arctic Art and The Eskimos of Bering Strait 1650-1898):

"Memorable...One of the best novels of Alaska I have read...a love story of the Earth and of a village struggling to accept the changes of the new economy, subsistence pursuits, spirituality, and the environment of the 1970s. This may be about a fictitious village, but with the author's unerring knowledge of anthropology and social and environmental issues, it could fit any rural Alaskan village."

"The story took my breath away...I wept my way through it, identifying profoundly with both protagonists. The author has a fine grasp of the complexity of human relations and culture in such a village."
~Dr. Jean L. Briggs, Never In Anger and Inuit Morality Play

"A truly glorious manifesto...An amazing understanding...When the stories of the ancestors begin, we sit quiet, forego comfort for as long as we must to learn something powerful, and yet, love every moment of it. This is one of those stories. It is difficult to be an ambassador, especially between two unbelievably different worlds. However, Thomas seems to be the perfect ambassador."
~Jack Dalton, Alaska Native storyteller,writer and teacher

"Provocative...reminds me of growing up in the 1950s and '60s in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Deltas..."
~John Active, Yup'ik, Tundra Drums

"Flight of the another fine example (of nature/environmental writing in Alaska fiction)."
~Nancy Lord, Alaska’s writer laureate; author of Beluga Days and Rock, Water, Wild

"Flight of the Goose puts a human face on the much debated issue of oil drilling in Alaska's wilderness. Should be required reading by Congress." ~Heather Lende, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name

Whoever wants to get closer to the present (of Alaska) without having to meet Sarah Palin should consider Flight of the Goose by Lesley Thomas." ~Die Presse newspaper, Austria

1971, the Alaskan Arctic. Kayuqtuq, "the red fox", an orphan traumatized by her past, seeks respect in her traditional Inupiat village through the outlawed path of shamanism. Outsider scientist Leif has come to research the effects of oil spills on salt marshes - and evade the draft. Told from Kayuqtuq's and Leif's perspectives, Flight of the Goose is a tale of cultural conflict, spiritual awakening, redemption and love in a time when things were, to use the phrase of an old arctic shaman, "no longer familiar".

Roberta Louis of Shaman's Drum Journal:

"Although I have chosen to focus largely on shamanic ...the story addresses many other significant issues as well - among them, climate change, environmental crisis, and indigenous rights. Incorporating from both Western science and indigenous mythology, it explores our ability as human beings to overcome cultural differences and form meaningful relationships - and it does so with both artistry and insight. Thomas has created a moving and extremely well-written story that, although set in the Arctic almost forty years ago, can help us learn to live more fully human lives today."

"Lesley Thomas writes about love and loss in a fictional Inupiat Village in Alaska in the 1970s..where the subsistence lifestyle is threatened by outsiders. Alaska is often called “the last frontier” and Thomas challenges this misnomer by writing about characters and a culture who have long settled in the Alaskan wilderness. (Thomas) proves Alaskan fiction is so much more than Jack London’s version of the state." ~Melinda Moustakis, Bear Down, Bear North

"A beautiful and compelling story of Arctic Alaska on the edge of the cultural and environmental upheaval...cuts through sentimental notions of Native culture and Arctic wilderness with a clear and powerful honesty. An extraordinary weave of the complexities of culture, environment, family, and - finally - love." ~Marybeth Holleman, "The Heart of the Sound: An Alaskan Paradise Found and Nearly Lost

The theme of star-crossed lovers is as old and universal as any in the world's storytelling traditions. Thomas conjures up a startling new variation in her impressive debut novel."
~Fairbanks Daily Newsminer

"Over the years I have been highly recommending Flight of the Goose. It is such a great read. Although the book is fiction it has some important cultural, shamanic, and environmental running throughout. Lesley is an incredible writer. I am not an easy reader to please and I could not put the book down."~ Sandra Ingerman, shamanic teacher

"Explores of myth, cultural conflict, environmentalism, and spirituality against the spectacular backdrop of the Arctic tundra. Recommended."
~Terri Windling, Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts

"Thomas is fascinated by the forces unleashed when different cultures rub up against each other..."
~Anne Hanley, Anchorage Daily News

"Alaskan fiction has been emerging with writers such as David Vann and also Seth Kantner, Nancy Lord, Lesley Thomas and others." ~ Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award Melinda Moustakis, author of Bear Down, Bear North

"Thomas applies her extensive knowledge of the culture, use of language, shamanism and way of life of the Inupiat people. The ecological destruction wrought by hunting and mining in the Alaskan system is a focal point. How two people from different cultures find love brings balance to the story...that will enlighten you to way-up North Country." ~Bookbuffet

"A remarkable achievement...Flight of the Goose is a novel about loss and loneliness, alienation and fear, acceptance and forgiveness, the natural and supernatural. Its memorable characters, believable setting, and complex treatment of problems that face us all in a world of unavoidable change and contact...will haunt the reader long after the covers have been closed."
~Fred Bigjim, Inupiaq author of Plants: A Novel, and Echoes from the Tundra

"This is an absolutely gripping tale - actually a skillful braiding of tales. I was moved by the characters and their fates as I have not been by a novel in a long time. The telling is masterful, the authenticity palpable, and the writing – its pace, color, tone - is exquisite. A remarkable work...a joy, a big broad deep river of a book, a work of substance and great beauty of both vision and style."
~Alaska Press Women Contest judge Richard Hoffman, award-winning author of memoir Half the House

"A wonderful tale." ~Randall Howell, editor of Arctic Sounder

"I just read the last words in the book; I was crying but could read through the tears. I will be 64 in January and this is the most honest, poignant and beautiful book I have ever read." ~Joanna Harcourt Smith,

Flight of the Goose, as listed with The Kids from Nowhere by George Guthridge:

"Two (books) stand out this year as exquisite examples of storytelling. Both focus on rural Alaska. Both focus share deeply some critical aspects of Alaska Native life…Both are authored by gifted writers who have a sense of Alaska Native culture and tradition…Both are well-written page-turners that will warm your heart and the hearts of those with whom you share the stories this winter."
~First Alaskans: a statewide magazine of Native business and culture

"Unique and absolutely splendid book. It is a great pleasure for me to "go" to places such as Flight of the Goose describes, and to "live" for a time in those environments. Thomas knows her subject very well, and describes it very well, and writes very well, and when this is all put together the results are superb."
~Elizabeth Marshall Thomas,(no relation to Lesley)author of The Old Way: A Story of the First People, and Reindeer Moon

"A dreamlike flow of images and language, impeccably crafted and deeply rooted in an authentic sense of place...Thomas' first novel brims with promise."
~Nick Jans, The Grizzly Maze and The Last Light Breaking

"Lucid and complex...enormously compelling (and) offers numerous avenues for theological reflections."
~Wesley Wildman, professor of theology at Boston U and author of Lost in the Middle? Claiming an Inclusive Faith

"Thomas has done what would seem to be the impossible ~ taken us deep inside the Inupiat world, in the voice and mind of an extraordinary young woman with still more extraordinary powers. I know of no book like this. You'll be stunned by the depth and scope of this novel and the unique and unmistakably true voice of its heroine."
~Lesley Hazleton, author of Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen

"It should be required reading by Congress...Complex, thought provoking and moving...Flight of the Goose puts a human face on the much debated issue of oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness...A must read for anyone that wants to learn more about Alaska than is in the headlines."
~Heather Lende, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name

"What an extraordinary novel...(Thomas) deals with the shamanism and sorcery in a very realistic way..."
~Sacred Hoop Magazine

"Powerful...This book deserves the marketing and promotion that are too often wasted on inferior titles."
~National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest judge

"A beautiful and compelling story of Arctic Alaska on the edge of cultural and environmental upheaval...cuts through sentimental notions of Native culture and arctic wilderness with a clear and powerful honesty. An extraordinary weave of the complexities of culture, environment, family, and - finally - love."
~Marybeth Holleman, The Heart of the Sound

"A deep rich novel that will leave readers eager for more of the truth about the 49th state.Flight of the Goose is a heartbreaker, but only in that special sort of way that makes you grateful for the hurt."

"Moving and revelatory...This is a story we must all know before we make any decisions about the Arctic that will forever haunt future generations."
~Brenda Peterson, Build Me an Ark and Living By Water

"Unforgettable...rings as true as bell metal. Gretchen is one of the strongest, most authentic characters I have had the pleasure of encountering in a long time. Thomas tackles some very big stuff—anthropology, myth, gender, science, institutionalized religion, the spirit world, ecology, colonialism, and more—and not only never falsifies but manages to bring them all into a fruitful relationship with each other.(She) has my admiration."
~Eugene Garber, award-winning author of The Historian and Beasts in Their Wisdom

"Thomas is a brilliant writer. She weaves together a love story, a story about life in an Alaskan village, shamanism, spiritual awakening and deep ecology. I am recommending this book to everyone I know."
~Sandra Ingerman, Soul Retrieval and Medicine For the Earth

"Remarkable...Beautifully written, original and fascinating...I pray there will be other novels bearing Thomas' byline."
~John deYonge, former editor of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Fascinating...Rich in content and emotional satisfaction..."
~Curled Up with A Good Book

" powerful it pulls you in and won't let you go."

"A wonderfully written, engaging story...the author brought real world issues into a novel, which really brought the characters to life."
~Front Street Reviews

"Memorable and highly recommended (5 stars). A sophisticated story enriched by an impressive personal background...infuses realism and accurate detail into this work."
~Midwest Book Review

"Flight of the Goose soars beyond the physical realm to touch the spiritual...Eloquent writing, vivid descriptions and a plot pulsing with passion…"
~In the Library Reviews

"Thomas creates a vivid arctic landscape, and explores the equally real psychic terrain that is connected to it. This powerfully written love story draws forth the spirit of the north like the sun pulls vapor from the ice, arousing a new understanding of what it means to be human."
~Kelpie Wilson, environmental editor of Truthout and author of Primal Tears

"Intimate knowledge...a compelling portrait..." ~Bellingham Weekly

"A haunting atmospheric tale...this truly amazing first novel has won well deserved praise. The author's own multi-ethnic heritage and youth spent in an Alaskan village gives the rich details depth and believability."
~New Connexion, a Journal of Conscious Living

"Beautifully written, ethereal novel...masterful evocation...elevated psychological fiction(full of) nuance and complexity of the kind made famous by Melville." ~
Book Room Reviews

"A truly beautiful literary achievement...Engrossing...Global warming and its tragic effects on the Far North have been on our minds these days,and Flight of the Goose is a great way to expand our knowledge of that remote region."
~Pacific Vision, Women's International League For Peace and Freedom

"Not just another ANWR book, Thomas takes on the spiritual and mystical aspects of the Arctic." ~Seattle Weekly

"Unforgettable...Beautiful writing, marvelous story, engaging characters."

"Heartrending...vivid...timely...This story of star-crossed lovers probes the most burning issues of our day: the rights of women…war versus peace; magic versus science; oil company greed versus the traditional — and sustainable — society of the Alaska native peoples."
~People’s Weekly World Newspaper

"Step into another world with this wonderful book... With rich, illuminating prose...Thomas takes us on a unique journey to find what we all seek: human compassion, trust, a sense of belonging, and of course, love."

"Excellent read (5 starred). Thomas brings her first-hand knowledge of growing up in the Arctic forward into a haunting story…I quickly devoured (this) fantastically told tale."
~Armchair Interviews

"At heart a love story...also a remarkable depiction of village life in the High Arctic at a time both near and far from our own." ~Recommended by Toyon Books, Healdsburg, CA

"...Should be of interest to birders and naturalists because of the central role that birds and other wildlife play in the everyday lives of the people portrayed...An honest and vivid portrayal...If you want to get a glimpse of what Alaska is really all about, pick up a copy of Flight of the Goose and set aside some quiet time to allow yourself to be absorbed into the entrancing blend of mysticism and realism that characterizes Thomas’s prose."
~ John Trapp, wildlife biologist and author of Birds Etcetera, a birding blog

"Extraordinary..." ~University of Alaska Anchorage Bookstore

"Flight of The Goose challenged my world view and opened my heart. (It) welcomes the reader through a mysterious door into the old ways of a village that no longer exists in modern times. For a few days I lived with Leif and Kayuqtuq, “the red fox”. My world disappeared and the arctic village life became more real to me than my own life. This to me is the essence of a great novel, for the reader to live with the story as if it were her own." ~Joanna Harcourt-Smith, editor of

"Thomas masterfully braids two voices from vastly different cultures in a tale of loss and love. Her sensitivity to traditional knowledge and ways of knowing shines through her language and craft. Flight of the Goose is a wonderful tribute to the Alaskan Arctic.”
~Leslie Hsu Oh, Creative Writing Instructor, University of Alaska Anchorage

On my short story, writes Nancy Lord: "I have favorites among the fiction (of the Northern Review fall 2009)...I was especially wowed by Thomas’ "End Times for Ruby," which captures the lives of girls in village Alaska, with all their imagined possibilities 'until you actually graduated'."
~Nancy Lord, Alaska’s writer laureate and author of Beluga Days and Rock, Water, Wild

"Wonderful, authentic, lyrical and rich. Thomas brought the landscape alive. My copy is well loved and dog-eared." ~Vivian Faith Prescott, author of The Hide of My Tongue

"My chest clutched on the last two pages. It took my breath away. This book should be out in front of every book store; every library should push it; the world should know about it and Lesley Thomas. I was blown away." ~ Jim Misko, Alaskan author

"I recommend a wonderful first novel: Flight of the Goose. Though I thought I knew all about this problem, I was stunned by how global warming is changing and harming Arctic communities and wildlife." Doris Cellarius, Sierra Club Magazine

“Alaska: Call of the Wild of course, and Flight of the Goose"~Owner of Castle Books in Beaumaris, Wales; recommending for Andrea Reads America reading project

Noteworthy Events
Miscellaneous Feathers

Spring, 2014: The world (and editors who thought the Arctic and climate change were not important or interesting) wake up and realize the Arctic ice is nearly gone and that it was the globe's air conditioner and was keeping climate stable. Next is Antarctica! Oops.

"Flight of the Goose" listed as "cli-fi" (cli-fi, or climate change lit, is the newest sub genre of literature;"Flight of the Goose" was listed as "eco-fiction" or "deep ecology fiction" in 2005.)

2012 Inuit Studies Conference: "Flight of the Goose" got recommended to scholars at this event

Nov 30, 2013, Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle; I talked up Alaskan authors for INDIES FIRST

August, 2013, "Flight of the Goose" gets listed in the biblio of Pamela Stern's "Historical Dictionary of the Inuit", 2nd Ed. - it was used as a textbook in '08 at Sterling College in Vermont; Stern's course: "Stories and Storytellers of the Circumpolar North"

2013; Book club in Tallahassee, Florida reads "Flight of the Goose"

2010, "Flight of the Goose" cited in "Daily Life of the Inuit", the first exhaustive study of modern Inuit society across the Far North

August 2012: Alaska Gray Lines puts "Flight of the Goose" in their recommended list of Best 17 Books Set in Alaska"

And famed ecologist blogger "Arcticisms" takes it with her hiking all over Alaska

March, 2012: My first listing in a European newspaper! From Austria Die "A literary journey into the blue on the day of the ten primaries in the United States...Is it remote? Alaska! James A. Michener has been immortalized in the 1988 bestselling novel, he takes the reader from ancient times up to Eisenhower. Who wants to get closer to the present, without having to meet Sarah Palin, should be "Flight of the Goose" (2005) take into account by Lesley Thomas. She writes about issues in the Arctic Circle in the seventies that are still relevant today." (sic)

January 1: celebrating the sale of #2,500 "Flight of the Goose" in 30 states and at least 8 nation states!

2011: The book made it to the Far North of Norway into the hands of Saami (grandpa Tor would be proud)

"Flight of the Goose" now with Kindle!

November 2010; Listed in Mike Ruppert's Collapsenet directory (a site to help people prepare for ecological and economic collapse)

Aug. 2010, Fairhaven College reunion showcases Flight of the Goose and and an ancient poem I wrote as an undergrad

April 2010: Now nationally distributed (and print on demand, a much greener option)

TBA 2010, upcoming interview with Joanna Harcourt at FuturePrimitive

Winter Semester 2010, University of Alaska Fairbanks studies "Flight of the Goose" again!

2010, two of my short stories will appear in University of Alaska Press flash fiction anthology "Cold Flashes"

November 2009, my short story "End Times for Ruby" set in modern Nome, Alaska appears in The Northern Review literary journal

August 09, my poem "Why as a Mighty Salmon I Will Not Leave" satirizing ex-governor Palin won third place in 49 Writers Ode to a Dead Salmon poetry contest, later appearing in "Alaska Magazine"

June, 2009, FirstBorns book club in Oregon reads Goose: see photos at

May 11, 2009, book club, Port Townsend, WA

April 21, teleconference with University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Kuskokwim campus

March 9, 2009, interview at 49 Writers, a new blog by and about Alaska writers

March 2, 2009, teleconference with Juneau book club

Spring Semester 2009, A P Biology Class at Peninsula High in Gig Harbor, WA chooses Flight of the Goose for its ecology curriculum!

Winter Semester 2009, Boston University Theology Department chooses Flight of the Goose again for its curriculum!

February 10, 2009, teleconference with Bethel Alaska book club

Winter Semester 2009, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus English Department chooses Flight of the Goose for its curriculum!

August, 2008, Pacific Northwest Library Association Conference

Spring Semester 2008, Boston University Theology Department chooses Flight of the Goose for its curriculum!

June - Dec 2008, Flight of the Goose displayed and sold at Burke Museum, University of Washington with exhibit "The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World"

March 30, 2008; Glenallen Alaska book club (author teleported via wormhole)

February 7, 2008; 7:00 pm - All For Kids (and Adults Too) bookstore : meet the author; Seattle

September 26, 2007, 7-9:00 pm Snow Goose Art Gallery, free, 8806 Roosevelt Way NE Seattle, (206) 523-6223,;

September 6, 2007; 7:00 pm, free, Seattle Metaphysical Library, 2220 NW Market St, L-05 Seattle,(206) 329-1794,

June 2007; Presenter at Kachemak Bay Writers Conference,

March 28, 2007; Santoro's Books , 7216 Greenwood Ave. N. Seattle, (206) 784-2113,

February 13, 2007; 10th Mountain Infantry Division (World War veterans) Seattle Yacht Club

April 16, 2007; University of Washington Extension Reading Club

November 18, 2006; Nome Book Club; teleconference and remote signing

September 9, 2006; National Federation of Press Women Annual Conference; book signing, selling, award ceremony; 3:30-8:00 pm; Adams Mark Hotel, Denver, CO

September 13, 2006 In Other Words Bookstore; Portland, Oregon;

Reprint, Translation, Film/TV and Electronic Rights handled by Cine/Lit Representation (Contact Mary Alice Kier at


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