A libidinous young woman seeks out experience on a remote Alaskan homestead in this hilarious and sensual novel "about people who belong everywhere and nowhere and the vast, unknowable wilderness of desire.... Sexy and dark and strange and absolutely perfect” (Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House)."
Tourists arrive all summer, by boat or seaplane, at Stu and Maureen Jenkins’s Lavender Island Wilderness Lodge in the Kodiak Archipelago, expecting adventure. But the spontaneity of their authentic Alaskan wilderness experience is meticulously scripted, except when real danger rears its head. Stu and Maureen’s lodge is failing, as is their marriage.
Mira has been hired for the season as the lodge’s baker and housekeeper. But she’s also busy gleefully nursing twin obsessions: building a working theory of what constitutes “sleaze” and pursuing a young fisherman she deems the embodiment of all things deliciously sleazy. Her plans become more perverse and elaborate, even as life on Lavender Island starts to unravel.
By midseason, it becomes clear that Stu, the jovial, predatory patriarch of the lodge, has turned his sexual attentions to another young employee. As the mood of the lodge spirals into chaos, the inhabitants realize just how isolated Lavender Island really is.
Hilarious, sensual, and charged with menace, The Seaplane on Final Approach brilliantly illuminates the mirage-thin line between the artificial and the feral. In this daring and psychologically razor-sharp debut, Rukeyser’s characters tear aside the facade of good manners to reveal all of our deepest needs and naked desires.
About the Author
REBECCA RUKEYSER is the recipient of the inaugural Berlin Senate grant for non-German literature. Her fiction has appeared in such publications as ZYZZYVA, The Massachusetts Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She earned her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches fiction writing at Bard College Berlin.
“I didn’t realize how much I needed this lusty, funny, heartbreaking book until I devoured it in a single sitting. The Seaplane on Final Approach is a novel set at the edge of the world, about people who belong everywhere and nowhere and the vast, unknowable wilderness of desire. A sharp, flawless debut. Sexy and dark and strange and absolutely perfect.” —Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House and Her Body & Other Parties
"An age-old story—puppy love meets jaded lust to dance their death spiral inside a young woman's head—told with the shameless authenticity of 2022. I ate it up." —Nell Zink, author of Doxology
"Brilliant and possibly the horniest thing I've ever read. But this is Advanced Horniness, the kind that can see the sex in phone book listings, vicarious jealousy, five thousand dollars, and the cold devouring ocean. It's as if Muriel Spark got seasick and dropped molly instead of dramamine." —Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens
“The Seaplane on Final Approach is an adventure story about the peculiar fantasies that make up our ideas about adventure in the first place. It is a tender trickster of a novel, told with humor, insight and just the right amount of raunch, and readers will delight in Rukeyser’s singular storytelling prowess. Read it now." —Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House
"Erotic possibility and inevitable ruin animate the Alaskan wilderness in this astounding debut about the first summer of the rest of your life. The Seaplane on Final Approach perfectly telegraphs the suspended animation of tourist-trap life within an eerie life-changing season, the gravity of which will only be felt decades later. Original and adventurous, horny and hilarious—it's everything I want from a book." —Rachel Yoder, author of Nightbitch
"Rebecca Rukeyser has crafted a novel that is a kind of anti-coming of age ballad, a celebration of taking the wrong paths in life, the beauty of what mistakes can teach us about ourselves. The Seaplane On Final Approach will bring you to a remote Alaskan island and leave you unsettled, unsure of how to return to the mainland. A debut that will be praised for its darkness and humor, but should be read for its deep sensitivity." —Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of Pizza Girl
"Every unhappy Alaskan nature resort is unhappy in its own way, as Rebecca Rukeyser demonstrates with irresistible elan in this stunning debut novel. The Seaplane on Final Approach is funny, sensual, elegiac, and phenomenally perceptive. It had me turning pages as I would follow a beautiful forest path frequented by grizzly bears: alert, enthralled, both avid and apprehensive to find what lies beyond the bend. Rukeyser is a wonderfully compassionate and original writer, and this novel is not to be missed." —Tom Drury, author ofPacific
“A strange, dreamlike coming-of-age story. . . With a delicate touch, the story invites rumination on themes of obsession and fixation, the dichotomous beauty and eeriness of an isolated landscape, and the struggle of locating oneself within a new environment. [With] power and subtlety […] the obviously talented Rukeyser has crafted a vividly beautiful and odd world; the specificity of Lavender Island propels the story here as much as the characters and the plot, and that is thanks to her descriptive and imagistic prose. This darkly compelling novel promises more interesting writing to come from Rukeyser.” —Kirkus