Is the memoir
of Dr. Robert "Jungle Bob" Durr who I ran into in 1976 at Chase Alaska on a homesteading mission for a neighboring landowner, or lease holder from the 1968 open to entry land program. I was too late for that myself, but Durr, already roaming the country since 1963 was well-positioned to acquire this land at Back Lake
. I never saw his lake as the Durrs were snobbish to anyone who dared venture into their territory and we, just like #1 son Steve had it turns out, inhabited the cabin near the tracks at the invitation of Rick La Francis when we weren't living at the greenhouse
on Nita Kaufman's property. Sure, I have a personal beef with the Durr's after the chilly reception we got from the first family of Chase, and so I can relate to the newcomers who he leaves out of his story. For Bob Durr they aren't really there, which was my impression at the time.
In that vein, it's a strange place; very cliquish. My book has more of this and the lead chapter is online, but Durr rambles here; prone to literary cliches and superficial skimming of the difficulties faced in building his place and even more important, acquiring the money to stay there and buy the new Arctic Cats
I saw him driving during my brief winter stay in Chase.
"I don't know where the money came from," he writes concerning his first chainsaw. Really? I sure would, and do vividly. Of course in those days most including myself were stoners
, but still, what this book lacks is the day to day struggle to get supplies and pay for them. Does he intend to just hang out on a biologically dead lake(the one detail I enjoyed hearing: no feeder streams due to an earthquake) until the end? Did he ever use his Ph.D to get work locally teaching or whatnot? What about the last thirty years? The New York literary world was just waiting with open arms because of his former literary professorship at Syracuse? And how do sons Stevie and Jon, two scruffy marginal local musicians at the time make it there? The other people I met grew dope and sold it. I may not agree with that per se, but at least I get the idea of how they buy snowmachines and Banjos. Frankly I don't know what the hell the Durrs do and neither will anyone else who reads this book from the looks of what I can see in the text.