This image is the cover for the book Mostly Water

Mostly Water

These linked essays form a memoir exploring the American outback from eastern Oregon horse trails to the arctic and subarctic river towns of Alaska.

In Mostly Water, Alaska-based journalist and nature writer Mary Odden shares a series of personal essays celebrating the beauty and independent spirit of America’s remote and rural Northern spaces. In these landscapes, human dwellers are entwined in histories and anecdotes as loopy as northern rivers.

Odden invites the reader to a vivid patchwork of characters and seldom-seen places, with a soundtrack from fiddle dances and a menu that is “half potlatch and half potluck.” Each essay features a recipe for a traditional regional dish, such as mincemeat, creamed salmon, and lingonberry sauce. As the stories unfold, events of the churning twenty-first century rise like the sea—as does a love of human togetherness and the precious otherness of nature.

Mary Odden

Mary Odden’s essays have appeared in the Georgia Review, Northwest Review, Nimrod, the Alaska Quarterly Review, and Under Northern Lights, an anthology of contemporary Alaska art and writing. Born in eastern Oregon, she traveled north to do forest fire work in Alaska. She studied writing at the University of Montana and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has worked as an aviation dispatcher, village teen counselor, writing teacher, and as publisher/editor of a small newspaper in Alaska’s Copper River Valley. In 2015, she received a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award for the essays gathered in Mostly Water. She lives with her husband in Nelchina, Alaska.

Red Hen Press