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A fresh debut novel about a lost, fierce young woman who finds her way to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing, as far as the icy Bering SeaTara Marconi has made her way to “The Rock,” a remote island in Alaska governed by the seasons and the demands of the world of commercial fishing. She hasn’t felt at home in a long while — her mother’s death left hA fresh debut novel about a lost, fierce young woman who finds her way to Alaska and finds herself through the hard work of fishing, as far as the icy Bering SeaTara Marconi has made her way to “The Rock,” a remote island in Alaska governed by the seasons and the demands of the world of commercial fishing. She hasn’t felt at home in a long while — her mother’s death left her unmoored and created a seemingly insurmountable rift between her and her father. But in the majestic, mysterious, and tough boundary-lands of Alaska she begins to work her way up the fishing ladder — from hatchery assistant all the way to King crabber. She learned discipline from years as a young boxer in Philly, but here she learns anew what it means to work, to connect, and — in buying and fixing up an old tugboat  — how to make a home she knows is her own.  A beautiful evocation of a place that can’t help but change us and a testament to the unshakable lure of home, The Alaskan Laundry also offers an unforgettable story of one woman’s journey from isolation back to the possibility of love....

Title : The Alaskan Laundry
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780544325265
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Alaskan Laundry Reviews

  • Linda
    2019-05-10 04:08

    The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones affected me like the tides. Highs and lows.Tara Marconi has nothing to prove to anyone being a tough young woman from Philly trying to make it in the fishing industry on a small remote island of "The Rock" in Alaska. And then, she has everything to prove to herself, to her father, to her on/off boyfriend, and to her fellow island mates."You seemed like a gerbil, back then. And now look at you, in your work pants and Tufs. Fish blood behind your ears."There's a transformation happening here with Tara. But there's also a lot of baggage to be pulled through this process of metamorphosis. Tara has heavy issues that she keeps stompin' on with those cumbersome fishing boots of hers. There is the plot and numerous subplots to be dealt with. At times, Tara's decision-making is much like Scarlett O'Hara's.....I'll think about it tomorrow. And there's a great bulk of one that stays bouyant on these waters. You'll see. Something that bends even the strongest fishing hook.I was torn between 3 and 4 stars. But the writing is in the hands of the very capable Brendan Jones. He resides in the land of Fishin' R Us. He knows his stuff. His diligent details of fishing and sailing boats almost glazed my eyes over. But you'll see that all of this is necessary to the storyline. Jones has a way with characters that allows us to see every bruise and every hardship. Life in the fishing industry ain't a frolick in a rowboat.Hope takes up residence here on this fishing isle and swims between the pages. Certainly not a light, easy read in some chapters, but one that satisfies the desire to meet face-to-face with resilience.

  • Sandra
    2019-05-14 22:14

    “He has this idea that the state’s on one continuous wash cycle. The Alaskan laundry, that’s what he calls it. Everyone coming north to get clean of their past.”A Bildungsroman of a young woman who comes to the cold and stark world of beautiful Alaska to work in the commercial fishing industry in The Alaskan Laundry, in which a disillusioned Tara Marconi leaves urban Philadelphia behind to start a fresh new life."But after the rush of blood and warmth she only felt emptier. She wanted to disappear, like the dot when she turned off her TV, reduced to a point. To reanimate on some different planet, find some new sun to orbit."Along the way she meets many an odd figure, people who are hardened to the tough life out there, but who are willing to take her on and show her the way. Even if it means butting heads. Literally.“So we’re all tumbling around in the Alaskan laundry out here. If you do it right you get all that dirt washed out, then turn around and start making peace with the other shit. Maybe even make a few friends along the way.”Brendan Jones seemed to have written his autobiography. From his about page, the similarities are striking. Philadelphia, Alaska. Boxing, the commercial fishing. And that tugboat.Raised in Philadelphia, he took the Greyhound west at the age of 19, ending up in Sitka, Alaska. He graduated from Oxford University, where he boxed for the Blues team, then returned to Alaska to commercial fish. He was a general contractor for seven years in Philadelphia, before heading back to Sitka, where he now lives, commercial fishing and renovating a WWII tugboat.He certainly knows his way around the industry. We get an indepth account of how it works in a hatchery, a processor and a crab boat. The Alaskan landscape comes alive through descriptive prose. The cold sets in our bones and the waves make us nauseous. We feel the determination and stubbornness of Tara within ourselves. Making us wonder if we would be able to survive in that industry. And as Tara does just that, she finds herself a spot in this world, finding peace within herself at last.“And what does kaya mean?” He thought for a moment. “It’s Inuit for ‘whatever you do, don’t look back.’”Review copy supplied by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a rating and/or review....

  • Chadwick
    2019-04-24 05:03

    "You ever jack off a fish?"That is possibly one of the great questions in all of modern literature.If you want the answer, you'll have to read Brendan Jones's fine debut novel. It's funny and wise, and it packs a real punch. Jones gives us an intriguing young heroine in Tara, who escapes after high school from Philadelphia to Alaska to avoid dealing with her loss, confusion, and trauma. As she makes her way on a remote island -- working hard in a variety of jobs and living a tough life -- Tara slowly begins to come to terms with herself and with those she left behind. Jones populates Tara's story with a cast of colorful characters, all of whom seem to have come to Alaska seeking to get clean or to find some sort of redemption, like Tara. As one says: "We're all tumbling around in the Alaskan laundry out here. If you do it right you get all that dirt washed out, then turn around and start making peace with the other shit. Maybe even make a few friends along the way."Tara blends cockiness and naiveté; toughness and tenderness. Mostly, she's confused (aren't we all at 19?), and she makes a lot of bad choices as she learns to make her way in the world. As one of her best friends says: "T, you've got a lot of good qualities. But knowing what you're doing ain't one of them."Jones has lived and worked in Alaska for many years, including jobs in commercial fishing and contracting, and his writing benefits both from his experiences and his affection for the places and people of his state. His sense of place is terrific, whether on land or at sea. And there's a real depth and complexity in his descriptions. We get Alaska warts and all -- the immense challenges of life there, but also the beauty and the sense of community from all those making their way together in that vast and rugged place. Both his prose and his storytelling are good. His writing feels honest and true.I was lucky enough to hear Jones speak and read at Wordstock in Portland last month. For all the time I spend goofing with books, Jones and his novel somehow weren't on my radar screen until I saw him. He was humble and charming, and funny as hell. I went right out and picked up a copy of his book. I'm glad I did.

  • Christine
    2019-05-13 02:18

    WOW! I just went on one of the best adventures in bookland! I absolutely loved this novel. Who knew I would fall so deeply in love with a book surrounded by fishing. A lot of fishing! This book hit me in deep ways, and I couldn't put it down until I absolutely had to. Then the wait to return was almost painful. I felt such connection and affection for so many of these characters! Beautiful book!

  • Linda
    2019-05-02 22:02

    1.99 Kindle Special 11/23/16Thank you Brendan Jones for taking me on the adventure of a lifetime! I loved everything about this book, a favorite for 2016. I'm so glad I followed my instincts and read it and sad I've finished.

  • Erin Rolfson
    2019-05-19 01:11

    I wasn’t sure if I was going to write this review or not. Generally I don’t like writing reviews about books that I didn’t enjoy. Since writing the review, creating the graphics, taking pictures for Instagram, and formatting everything can take a couple of hours I don’t like to spend that much time on something I didn’t like. But I felt I should do one for this book because I think there are lots of people that would like it for the reasons I disliked it. Does that make sense? Here we go.I think the best word to describe this book would be “gritty.” Language, mature themes and some graphic animal dismemberment mean that this book would definitely be for an older audience. It was even a bit much for me.Tara is a hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners, rough young woman. She doesn’t make friends easily, but when she does she knows she can rely on them. In the boonies of Alaska that is crucial to survival. However I really didn’t enjoy her as a character. I wished she had been developed more so that there were things about her that I actually liked instead of just admiring her bravado.I felt like this book was too technical in its fishing terminology for me. When it would start explaining things about bow lines and how to throw the pots into the ocean so you would get the most crabs, I began to skim. It’s authentic terminology because the author himself in Alaska, fishing, boxing, and restoring a tugboat. So people who are avid fishers would probably love it!I did really like the short chapters in the book. It made it less daunting to read because sometimes I only have time to read two pages before getting juice dumped all over me. So that was nice. I really hated the ending. A lot. I can kind of understand why Jones wrote it the way that he did, but I just didn’t like it.

  • Kasa Cotugno
    2019-05-03 00:03

    Tara Marconi, a tough if vulnerable young woman from Philadelphia, leaves everything she's known and finds herself in Alaska in an attempt to cleanse herself in what one character calls The Alaskan Laundry - "a state in continual wash cycle...Everyone coming north to get clean of their past." Grieving over the loss of her mother (so there's an element of Strayed's Wild), estranged from her father, and losing connection with her lifelong friend, Tara's life in a remote village involve facing increasingly challenging situations, learning new skills and finding uses for her muscles she never knew she had. She immediately develops an infatuation for a World War II vintage tugboat, setting ownership of it as her goal. As this novel is set in the late 1990's, daily contact is not possible with her old life, giving her opportunity to focus on isolation from her demons. What makes this novel so special is the author's first hand knowledge of the world he portrays. Living on a tug in Alaska, his affection for that lifestyle informs the story, and makes the reader want to chuck it all and join him, challenges and all. This is such an immersive book -- the characters are so well delineated, the different aspects of forging a living in the fishing community, the landscape lovingly and sensually presented. Highly recommended.

  • Dave Allen
    2019-05-18 21:54

    So, let me say that this story did suck me in and I found the main character compelling and her Alaskan experience legit. That said, some of the descriptions, especially about fishing were long and although I have worked on boats, I found them in some instances difficult to follow. For instance, I haven't worked on a troller and found the description of it, despite my experience seining, very difficult to picture... so guessing readers who have absolutely no knowledge of fishing boats would be completely lost. It was interesting that a male author had a female protagonist and I think did a decent job of portraying her. Judging by his bio., though, I believe the story may largely be based upon his experience. Nevertheless, a good tale about coming to Alaska.

  • Carol N
    2019-04-28 05:02

    To experience the ultimate Alaskan adventure has always been at the top of my “bucket list.” So needless to say, when Book Browse gave me an opportunity to be one of its first readers, I jumped at it. This rugged novel immediately transported me to Sitka where I found myself tossed about by nature’s waves, wind and weather. Through the pages of this book, I was also introduced to a cast of characters that one can only meet in Alaska; many of which will remain with me in the coming years. This is a straightforward, old-fashioned coming of age story of nineteen-year old, Tara Marconi, who struggles to find respect, love, and her inner peace in Alaska. As she battles to reinvent herself, she proves herself to be very much like I imagined Alaska to be – fresh, sensitive, discovering and unforgettable. Tara’s story confirmed the struggles one experiences while submersed in Alaska’s unique culture of commercial fishing. Strong-willed and capable, the reader watches her obtain her American dream. Bravo Tara!

  • Lissa
    2019-05-01 04:17

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. For some reason, I got the idea into my head from the book's title that this book would be about laundry and I spent much of the beginning of the book assuming that the young woman who moved to Alaska would open a Laundromat and quirky characters from Northern Exposure would appear to amuse her. As Tara's experiences working in the fishing boats and processing plants became rougher, with gritty and dangerous scenes, I slowly discovered that although this was a very different book than the one I had imagined I was reading, I was hooked. (That was an intentional fishing reference.) Tara's strength and persistence toward her own goals in the face of rejection, threat, failure, and other adversity made this gripping story a compelling read. Unlike many of the light-hearted books I read, this one is still in my mind weeks later, asking to be revisited and further contemplated. HIGHLY recommended.

  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    2019-04-28 01:49

    The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones is a very highly recommended novel about a woman who escapes to Alaska and works hard to find peace and her place in the world. This is a not-to-be-missed debut featuring a strong woman who learns to face her problems head-on and overcome them.Tara Marconi has run away from Philadelphia, her father Urbano, the family bakery, boxing, and her boyfriend Connor. She has traveled to a remote, rugged Alaskan island called "the Rock" aka Archangel Island, with plans to work for a year at a fish hatchery there. After a rough start she works her way through the commercial fishing industry and stays more than the original planned one year. Tara finds herself drawn to an old WWII tug boat that is for sale and she makes it her goal to earn enough money to buy the boat and a place to call her own.Tara makes friends and meets an odd assortment of individuals involved with commercial fishing. She fights her way through the tough, brutal jobs and her anger toward her father, as well as the depression she had fallen into in Philly. She also has to come to terms with her mother's death, memories from her childhood, and an incident she has never talked about that scarred her as a teen. Tara regains her confidence and discovers a sense of self and purpose - not without struggles, bumps and bruises- through hard work and raw determination.Her friend tells her that we are put on this earth to learn to love honestly and cleanly and people are drawn to living in Alaska to help them achieve this:"'So we’re all tumbling around in the Alaskan laundry out here. If you do it right you get all that dirt washed out, then turn around and start making peace with the other sh*t. Maybe even make a few friends along the way.' He winked at her.'I’m trying,' she said."I found The Alaskan Laundry to be very well written. The narrative consists of short chapters that mirror the independent steps Tara is making toward self-discovery and true empowerment. Brendan Jones' real life experiences and knowledge of the commercial fishing industry makes this novel even more compelling to read. You can tell that he knows what he is writing about. His descriptions of the people, the setting, the landscape, and even the smells are pitch perfect in establishing a real sense of place.I'm glad I read this coming-of-age story, even if I was at times telling Tara in my head, "Oh no, sweetie, don't do that..." Tara is an imperfect protagonist, but you will be rooting for her, hoping she does find the peace and sense of self and purpose that she needs as she figures out how to navigate her way and work at various difficult jobs. The Alaskan Laundry is one of those novels that will stay with you.Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for review purposes.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-10 03:15

    I didn't even finish it. The main character, Tara, seems to be overly defensive and aggressive for little to no reason, and is such a cliche "tough girl from philly". The dialogue is poor in this book. Tara speaks mostly one liners to others or spends her time glaring and shouting obscenities and standing there with her "fingers twitching" to punch someone. The author himself worked in the fishing industry and uses a lot of technical terms that I personally just didn't get.

  • Natalie
    2019-04-22 00:08

    This was an easy book to lose myself in! I could pick it up and, before I knew it, 50 pages had flashed by. What an inspiring story of hard work and discovery!

  • Cylia Kamp
    2019-05-23 03:17

    I'm not sure why I managed to finish this book. First it was written by a male author attempting to present as his main character, a female. She's pretty much a tom boy, a boxer, and tough. She's had a difficult upbringing, experiencing her father's abuse and the recent death of her mother. Also because her dad has kicked her out of the house, she's moved to Alaska to work for a commercial fisherman and grow up. She is not a sweetie pie woman who can't hold her own in a man's world. Yet she's not quite female enough for me--too tough, too emotionally simple. The other miss is that the book was advertised by an author who is offering an online course on how to present nature in a fictional fashion, but Alaskan Laundry is overly detailed with information about fishing in Alaska--kind of like nonfiction.But I kept at it because for a long time I've thought I could write nature-centered fiction or nonfiction because my husband and I have traveled for almost 50 years now, a lot of it involving backpacking and nature based trips. Maybe I could pick up a technique or two about writing such books or short stories from the author Brendan Jones. Here's what I discovered. (1) His book was well written, especially those parts describing the wilds, weather, and terrain of Alaska, (2) but it drifted off base when the author came to producing great fiction. (3) There were many unusual characters, though most of them were not well fleshed out. Their initial descriptions were tantalizing, but then they faded as the story continued. The ones I thought were handled the best were Tara, Newt, and surprisingly Tara's dog. (4)The plot was too predictable, no big surprises or twists.In the end I would say the book was conceived by an excellent, super observant nonfiction writer who became mired in the tangles of producing the depth and complexity of really great fiction. Instead he ended up with a how-to manual of fishing, engine repair, fisher-people and their activities). For all of these reasons I gave the book a lower rating than I usually do.

  • Joan
    2019-05-21 03:56

    This was an unusual book and I am not really sure how to categorize it. An 18 year old girl goes to Alaska to get away from her father and work on a fishing boat.She also leaves behind her long-term friend/boyfriend and part of the story is told through the letters they exchange. Tara has to learn to handle physically hard work and crew members who mostly resent her presence. But along the way she makes a lot of friends and achieves some personal goals and grows in some of her relationships. I enjoyed reading about Alaska and the way of life experienced by the people living there and those going out on the fishing boats. I did not always enjoy reading about Tara and her attitude. She was willing to accept help from everyone she met, but then would write them off if they didn't behave exactly like she thought they should. I couldn't really figure out why so many people seemed so anxious to take her in and help her and befriend her in so many ways. She was a hard worker but otherwise came across as a bit of a spoiled brat. Overall I would probably give it 3 stars but graded it up because of the unique and creative nature of the tale.

  • Friendly John
    2019-05-07 22:01

    I got an ARC copy from Green Apple books in San Francisco. I couldn't put the book down. I've read a lot of adventure books, including into the wild by krakaeur. Alaska as the final frontier reaches out to me. instead of the journalist putting together a puzzle, you get a richly developed character, Tara Marconi, jumping head first into the raw nature of the place and a largely misunderstood industry, written from Jones' first-hand experience. I'd read Jones' op-ed pieces in the New York Times and at first I had trouble reconciling the two voices. I came to appreciate the sparse but descriptive writing style in the alaskan laundry. there aren't a lot of chabonesque fancy twirls but the components of the book that weave in and out, like the crows/ravens and the American dream... of a place to call your own, a home, saving every penny, earning respect, understanding yourself and your history... these all come together for a delicious read. the kind you want to jump to action for.

  • Mariana
    2019-05-05 22:10

    It is silly what made me decide read this book. The "Alaskan" bit did it. For some reason unknown (which will probably be unconvered through therapy), I have a thing for Alaska. For me, it has always been the place I'd go if I seriously needed emotional healing. Tara Marconi needed that to recover from a terrible loss and to get to the new stage in her life that this loss represented. The tough 18 year old boxer from Philly makes her journey of overcoming grief in this land, which requires her to adapt to new situations, like long dark winters or even longer days. Through hard work and a beautiful contact with nature and people of various backgrounds, Tara learns how to love, care and tame her wild nature. Jones' description of the Alaskan scenery is breathtaking and I felt like I was beside Tara the whole time. This book has definetely made my top reads of the year list.And this is the song for this book:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt2yl...

  • Dianah
    2019-04-26 03:17

    A wonderful and unusual coming-of-age story, The Alaskan Laundry follows Tara as she abruptly flees her home following her mother's death, an impasse with her father, and the uneasiness in her romantic relationship. As Tara works her way through the Alaskan fishing industry, she questions her faith in herself and in her ability to obtain the thing she desperately wants -- a home. A mixture of seafaring adventures, hardscrabble life, and the utter loneliness of Alaska, thousands of miles from her hometown, leads Tara to dig deep into her own sense of self, and discover what lies beneath the facade she shows the world. Lovely. (No laundromats!)

  • Bonnye Reed
    2019-05-11 20:54

    GAB The Alaskan Laundry is an excellent coming of age tale, peopled with colorful folks from the commercial fishing industry in Alaskan waters in the late 1990's. This is a well written novel, the story line tight, peopled with complex characters you can't help but like and understand. I would not have thought this a first novel. I will watch for more from Brendan Jones. He brings to life the joys and trials of commercial fishing, the beauty and fierceness of the land and sea that holds the hearts of those who know Alaska intimately. Thank you for sharing your world with us, Brendan Jones.

  • Bridget Quinn
    2019-04-30 21:54

    There’s much to like in this bildunsroman of a young Philadelphia woman who makes her way alone to Alaska, especially the description of Alaskan life, the gritty world of fisheries and the colorful individualists who choose to make Alaska home. But the heartfelt why of things felt mostly absent. We hear that Tara has lost her mother and is estranged from her father (in many, many flashbacks), but there’s no real sense of what’s at stake for this young woman in her voyage of self-discovery and why Alaska at all really. Still, a very good read.

  • Carol M
    2019-05-09 01:04

    As a fan of Alaska reality television shows (especially The Deadliest Catch) I was eager to read this advanced reader's copy from Netgalley about a woman who comes to Alaska to escape her tormented old life and find herself. A cousin sets her up with a job at fish processor but she has to scramble to eke out accommodations. As expected, Alaska life is rugged and harsh and filled with a cast of eccentrics. This is a terrific book about a young woman's personal journey in search of self acceptance.

  • Pam Mooney
    2019-04-27 00:00

    I love the descriptive "The Alaskan Laundry" it really sets the stage for a gripping and passionate story. This is a bam! in your face journey for the heroine where you prove yourself or turn around. The author really knows this reality and is able to paint the picture beautifully. I enjoyed the bigger than life characters that are gruff, flawed, and endearing. I just know they are a true representation of who I would meet in a real life setting in Alaska. I felt like I had a good cleansing which is an amazing experience to get from a book. A good read.

  • Marla Cosner
    2019-05-22 01:52

    I loved this book--up until the last 10 pages. I hated the ending. However, I am giving it the elusive 5-star rating because it is most likely to be the best book I read this year. Lots of language and a few weird spots of innuendo--and totally worth all of it. I love books like this--somebody gets me.

  • Mary
    2019-04-23 00:08

    I loved this book. So well written, so compelling, such an interesting story! Tara was so strong, yet so damaged, she did things I don't think I could ever do. Watching her struggle in wild and oft times violent Alaska and come out whole on the other side was just enthralling. I literally could not put this book down.

  • Vicki
    2019-04-29 22:56

    Tara, a fierce young woman in need of a fresh start, arrives in Alaska to work in a salmon hatchery. She is running away from the death of her mother, her father's wrath, and her own personal demons. The writing is elegant and completely absorbing -- evoking both the harsh beauty of the place as well as the interior battles Tara is fighting. A real gem.

  • Chris
    2019-05-19 23:09

    If you want to know about life in the Alaskan fishing industry ,this book is great. It follows the steps of a novice hatchery worker to becoming a King Crabber. It is a fictionalized account ,but had too much fishing detail to keep my interest.

  • Beverly
    2019-05-14 03:18

    Feedback for "The Alaskan Laundry" Beverly DeFabio -- Last update on Mar 17 2016Reviewrecd e-galley from NETGALLEYOne young woman's fight to reclaim her self in the "wilds" of Alaska. Well written, easy to read; completely believable characters. LOVED this book!

  • Angela Hornsby
    2019-05-16 04:06

    Couldn't put this one down. Great writing, particularly descriptions of Alaska, details of the fishing industry, Native American customs and food culture. Best however, is the character development as a young woman finds her courage and self-confidence in a harsh and strange new home.

  • Mindy Schlegel
    2019-05-19 01:07

    Great read. Maybe too much technical stuff on fishing and boat lingo, but good story.

  • Mary Allen
    2019-05-05 23:05

    Didn't finish .. didn't love it ... couldn't identify with her and was a bit slow moving for me ...