Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review of #1 Mother Earth, Father Sky by Sue Harrison

Name of Book: Mother Earth Father Sky

Author: Sue Harrison

ISBN: 0-380-71592-9

Publisher: Avon Fiction

Part of a Series: Ivory Carver Trilogy, My sister the moon, Brother wind are sequels

Type of book: Pre-historic, Aleut, Alaska, coming of age, 7056-7055 B.C.E, stories, legends

Year it was published: 1990


In a frozen time before history, in a harsh and beautiful land near the top of the world, womanhood comes cruelly and suddenly to beautiful, young Chagak. Surviving the brutal massacre of her tribe, she sets out across the icy waters off America's northwest coast on an astonishing odyssey that will reveal to Chagak power secrets of the earth and sky...and the mysteries of love and loss.


The character of Chagak is drawn realistically, especially when she is struggling with herself and what the society demands from her. It also shows Kayugh who also has lost everything but yet he keeps on going strong, and eventually succeeds. Much to mine relief as well is that Shuganan, who's an old man, doesn't take Chagak as a wife, although she wants him to, and both have a granddaughter and grandfather relationship, he trying to help her and eventually giving her to Kayugh.


"It is what Shuganan wanted me to understand, Chagak thought. That there would be another beginning. Another and another. For each ending a beginning. For every death, new life." (384, Mother Earth Father Sky)


This was in third person omniscient point of view from Chagak's, Shuganan's and Kayugh's points of view. Although the writer doesn't use spaces, but she does devote a number of paragraphs to the character that is talking before moving on and the book didn't strike me as confusing at all.

Author Information:

Sue Harrison is the author of six critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling novels. Mother Earth Father Sky, My Sister the Moon and Brother Wind make up The Ivory Carver Trilogy, an epic adventure set in prehistoric Alaska. Song of the River, Cry of the Wind and Call Down the Stars comprise The Storyteller Trilogy. Sue’s young adult book, SISU, was released by Thunder Bay Press .

Sue Harrison was born in Lansing, Michigan. The first of five children, she was raised in the town of Pickford in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where she lives with her husband, a retired high school principal. They are blessed with a daughter and a son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

A graduate of Pickford High School, Harrison graduated summa cum laude from Lake Superior State University with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. She was named Lake Superior State University’s Distinguished Alumna in 1992, and served eight years on the university’s Board of Regents.

Harrison’s first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky, was published in 1990 by Doubleday (hardcover) and Avon (paperback). It was nominated in the states of Michigan and Washington for the Reader’s Choice Award among high school students, and was one of ten books chosen for “Battle of the Books,” a statewide student reading competition in Alaska. The novel as had success in both the adult and young adult markets, and was a national bestseller. It was selected by the American Library Association as one of 1991′s Best Books for Young Adults.

Harrison’s second novel, My Sister the Moon, (Doubleday/Avon 1992) has also received recognition by reading and school groups throughout the United States and was a Baker and Taylor top ten in library sales. Both Mother Earth Father Sky and My Sister the Moon were Main Selections of the Literary Guild Book Club and alternate selections of the Doubleday Book Club. Brother Wind, Harrison’s third novel was released in hardcover by William Morrow, October 1994, and in 1995 as an Avon paperback. The novel was chosen as an alternate selection by both the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Song of the River and Cry of the Wind were both published by Avon Hardcover/Avon paperback, a division of Hearst Books. The third book of The Storyteller Trilogy, Call down the stars was published by Morrow/Avon in 2001 and 2002. It was featured alternate of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs.

Harrison’s books have also been published in Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Japan, France, Finland, and South America.

Harrison is represented by Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary. She is currently writing women’s contempory fiction for the inspirational market.


I really enjoyed reading this book and learning about the life near Alaska thousands and thousands of years ago. I also liked the way Chagak was drawn, that is how she struggles with trying to let herself love Kayugh and trying to move on. Kayugh also contains realism and we as readers see him do his best with his family and wives. It's also interesting to learn that they saw Aurora Borealis as somewhere where the dead go to after death. The life there seems slow and also changes very little. What I was curious about was the statue Shuganan made for Chagak, and who the man was. Perhaps in the next book? I think that its' a good story to read for those who have lost all because it does give hope in the end.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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