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Eric Mack: "90 Below," A Mini-Memoir

Several things confused me about Eric Mack's 90 Below: Or, What Bush Alaska Taught Me About Drink, Destruction & Survival. It kind of spoiled the experience, but once I finished (baffled) and went online to answer some questions, it made a lot more sense. I re-read 90 Below, and absolutely loved it.
So here are two things you might want to know ahead of time:

 

1. Who is this guy?
90 below drops you right in the middle of his story, which is a good thing according to the conventional wisdom of short story workshops. But it can also be a little disorienting to the reader. Eric Christopher Mack (to distinguish him from the many other people who will pop up when you Google "Eric Mack") is a freelance writer and reporter, with a passion for working with small, rural communities. 
 
He moved to Galena at one point to work on "the radio." I'm actually still not sure what he did there, or what kind of radio station it was. I think it was an NPR station? Does Galena have an NPR station? This is obviously still a little confusing for me. Unfortunately his personal website isn't helpful here, either.
 
2. What is this thing?
I thought I was buying a full-size memoir. It's only available as a Kindle edition, so there is no page count. Suffice it to say, it is a short work of non-fiction. The first time I finished it, I thought I had accidentally only read the sample chapter. I suppose you could say it is 35 pages long, if you define a page as "click the forward button on my Kindle."
Once you get oriented, 90 Below gives you a lot of bang for your buck. (Well, for your 99 cents plus tax, if you want to get technical about it.) Think of it as akin to a New Yorker article about one man's experience as a white guy and an outsider in a mostly-Native town in the Alaskan bush.
 
90 Below is as unflinching as it is haunting. The final kick at the end of the story, the other bookend to the one that opens the piece, is absolutely devastating.
 
I found an interview Mack gave about 90 Below, in which he says that he started out writing a full-size memoir but decided to focus on a single event because "it would take me about three centuries to cover the whole three years at the rate I was going." I enjoyed 90 Below, but I hope that some day Mack is able to power through and write about his entire experience.