Review: Gaining Daylight: A Promising Debut

Gaining Daylight: Life on Two Islands, by Sara Loewen : Reviewed by Simmons B. Buntin Every now and then a magazine is lucky enough to include a contribution that irrevocably changes the publication—and for the better. New writer Sara Loewen’s essay “To Know a Place,” published as “Setnet Fishing on Uyak Bay” in in 2010 and that appears in her first book, Gaining Daylight: Life on Two Islands (University of Alaska Press,) is just such a piece. When nonfiction editor Joshua Foster forwarded the essay to me, his endorsement was straightforward: “Dude, this is fantastic.” But there was more at work here then a delicious essay about fishing and the harsh but providing landscape of Uyak Bay, Alaska, particularly for our journal. This essay launched a new section altogether, To Know a Place, which features an essay, story, or set of poems from one contribution that portrays an intimate relationship to a single place.