Astorians: Eccentric and Extraordinary
In 1993, the New Yorker published Calvin Trillin's memorable article on the eccentric Flavel family of Astoria, the descendants of Captain George Flavel, whose ornate Queen-Anne-style mansion is a tourist draw today. With Trillin's gracious consent, "First Family of Astoria" is reprinted in Part One of "Astorians, Eccentric and Extraordinary, " making its first appearance in book form.
Part Two carries on the theme with portraits of fifty-five other notable Astorians. Five Oregon writers have captured the essence and the flavor of vivid personalities that include the notorious shanghaier Bridget Grant; the charming scoundrel Mayor Francis Clay Harley; the elusive English "barmaid" Jane Barnes, the first white woman in the Pacific Northwest; and Rolf Klep, who believed he could create a major maritime museum in an economically depressed town--and made it happen.
In biology, it is said that the richest life forms reside at the edge of the ecosystem. Astoria epitomizes edges--the edge of the country, the edge of a great river, the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and the edge of our American culture. This book celebrates the larger-than-life quality that has appeared with regularity in the town's two-hundred-year history. As Steve Forrester, publisher of the "Daily Astorian, " notes in the book's introduction: "Extraordinary people are not necessarily eccentric. But eccentrics are driven to do extraordinary things." Contributors include M. J. Cody, Amy Hoffman Couture, John E. Goodenberger, Nancy Ricker Hoffman, Liisa Penner, and Calvin Trillin.
About the Author
Calvin Trillin is the author of twenty books, including "Family Man" (FSG, 1998) and "Messages from My Father "(FSG, 1996). He writes a weekly column for "Time" and a weekly poem for" The Nation". He lives in New York City.
Karen Kirtley, a freelance editor based in Portland, Oregon, teaches advanced editing in the Portland State University publishing program. She is most recently the editor of Pendleton Round-Up at 100: Oregon's Legendary Rodeo. She co-wrote, with Richard Newman, the biography "Alma RosAA(c): Vienna to Auschwitz, " now available in German and Hebrew as well as the original English.
M.J. CODY returned to her Oregon roots after thirteen years in Los Angeles where she was an award-winning magazine art director before morphing into a television writer ("Mama's Family," "Major Dad," and "Knots Landing" for which she won Soap Opera awards for "Best Storyline" two consecutive years). Her travel columns ran in the The Sunday Oregonian for more than a decade; and she is the co-editor of Portland's acclaimed Wild in the City books with urban naturalist Mike Houck. Her non-fiction travel book Sleeping Around the Northwest chronicles her off-the-beaten-path road trips. M.J. lives in the woods on a river when she is not wandering.