Leavetakings: Essays

By Corinna Cook. University of Alaska Press, 2020. 

“It is important to go both directions. It takes repetitions to see where you’ve been. And things look different when you’re leaving—even the air is different.”

Movements of departure and return propel Corinna Cook’s Alaska-based essay collection, Leavetakings. She asks: what can coming and going reveal about place? About how a place calls to us? About heeding that call? Essay by essay, proximity and distance play out on the land alongside the ebb and flow of alienation and empathy between people. Shifting sightlines move between lineage, landscape, scars, friendship, wildlife, music, loyalty, and loneliness. “I just wish to glimpse the shape of the continent,” Cook writes of the distance, the overlay. “I am simply trying to see something I am too small to see.”