Pat and Randy Sue Coburn

During my visit this fall
to the Pacific Northwest
I caught up with a friend and former colleague
who now lives in Seattle.
Randy Sue Coburn and I
were both reporters at The Washington Star.
It was a great place to work,
though challenging,
as it was for all afternoon newspaper staffs at the time.
We were paid four-day work weeks for awhile –
conditions that helped the staff become much like a family;
we not only worked together
we were friends outside of work too.
(The Star closed in 1981.)

It was great to sit down and visit
with Randy Sue in Seattle’s colorful and vibrant
market neighborhood.
She’s a novelist now
and it’s been a great pleasure
to read A Better View of Paradise.
I started reading it on the trip
and finished it at home;
couldn’t put it down.
It’s stayed with me through these many weeks
and so it is not only out of loyalty to a friend
but also loyalty to readers of this blog
that I pass along this recommendation.
It’s very well written – no surprise there.
Randy Sue paints the picture masterfully
without the reader being aware
of her efforts as a writer.
And she draws the reader into the story
– one of relationships and healing –
because the characters are real and compelling.
The reason I recommend this book
from this blog
is because she clearly sets the story in an ecosystem
(she never uses that word)
and lets the wisdom of the ecosystem
and the indigenous people who best
understand it
do the healing.
I really love this book;
it’s part of me now,
like old friends.

Thanks Randy Sue.


Front Cover


Just one long-ago day on the island remains so alive for Stevie that it returns less as memory than emotion. It is a day that begins out on the lanai, eating breakfast while she watches a gecko swell up and pulse its throat, the liquid trill of mating cardinals in her ears. It is a day before anyone ever forced her to wear tights, or Wellingtons, or endure the insult of scratchy Fair Isle sweaters against her skin. It is a day that will forever mark the freest part of childhood, when time slipped through soft, silken air scented with ginger and night jasmine. A day when her family is whole.

— “Prologue,” A Better View of Paradise
Randy Sue Coburn