Alaska Waters follows Will’s search for his place in the world when he realizes he cannot be the son his father had always hoped for.  The Koch family has been commercial salmon fishermen in Alaska for three generations, but Will cannot feel his father’s empathy for the sea.  Will struggles to find himself in this last frontier among people he often feels alienated from, regardless of how much he loves them.  His father has remarried, and Will sharply contrasts with his father’s stepson.  At the same time Will is exploring his own sexuality and the values he wants to shape his own life.

Shortly after his arrival, a series of accidents threatens the survival of the entire fishing operation, and high seas, grueling work, and hostile competitors test everyone’s endurance.  In the end, Will learns when it is necessary to compromise and when he must take a stand.

The challenge of the environment, raw yet often beautiful, underlines the themes of the novel: that growing up can be harsh yet illuminating, that a strong body has to be matched with a strong spirit, and that the worst conditions breed the greatest triumphs.

Alaska Waters' story takes place against the backdrop of America's newest state, the harsh, unforgiving environment of its last frontier, and its unusual people and their frontier culture.

By Walter Lape

Alaska Waters

Walter Lape

Walter Lape worked several summers on the crew of a commercial fishing operation in Alaska and learned first hand the dangers of the sea.  Lape moved from Albany, NY to the Adirondacks to finish college, taught English on the secondary and college level and won the Outstanding Educator Award the year it was initiated by his school for excellence in the teaching of English language and literature.  He was one of the founding editors of The Glens Falls Review, which published several distinguished writers including Jean Rikhoff, William Kennedy, and William Bronk, and published a chapbook of poetry, Three Adirondack Poets

    He was a sculptor with highly successful gallery showings at the Leslie Lohman Gallery in Manhattan, the Howard Gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Passions Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts and Romeo’s Gallery in Albany, NY.  He was also an assistant art instructor at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. 

    In addition to the literary and plastic arts, Walter Lape was also interested in the performing arts and participated for many years in the Northeast Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker as Dr. Stahlbaum.  The 2010 production was dedicated to his memory. 

    Alaska Waters was his first book of fiction.  He died in April 2010.

Walter Lape

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