Sunday, March 24, 2013
Book Review - North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey
After her parents are killed in a rare grizzly attack, the author is forced into a wilderness of grief. Turning to loves she learned from her father, Polson explores the perilous terrain of grief through music, the natural world, and her faith. Her travels take her from the suburbs of Seattle to the concert hall where she sings Mozart's Requiem, and ultimately into the wilderness of Alaska's remote Arctic and of her heart.
This deeply moving narrative is shot through with the human search for meaning in the face of tragedy. Polson's deep appreciation for the untamed and remote wilderness of the Alaskan Arctic moves her story effortlessly between adventure, natural history, and sacred pilgrimage, as much an internal journey as a literal one. Readers who appreciate music or adventure narratives and the natural world or who are looking for new ways to understand loss will find guidance, solace, and a companionable voice in this extraordinary debut.
About the Author
Shannon Huffman Polson writes about the borders we navigate every day. Her first book, a memoir called "North of Hope," is due out in the spring of 2013 from Zondervan/Harper Collins. Her essays and articles appear in a number of literary magazines and periodicals and her work is anthologized in "More Than 85 Broads" and the upcoming "Be There Now: Travel Stories From Around the World."
Polson was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and grew up loving the outdoors. After studying English Literature at Duke, she headed from the ivory tower to the tarmac of Ft. Rucker, AL, where she flew Apaches in the first crop of women attack helicopter pilots. An MBA at the Tuck School at Dartmouth transitioned her to five years in marketing at two companies. Now she's back in the books, and back in love. Polson has scuba dived on three continents, sky dived on two, and climbed the highest mountain in North America and Africa. When she's not writing, she can be found in the mountains of Washington and Alaska with her family, accompanied by their Alaskan husky, serving on the board of the Alaska Wilderness League, singing with a local choral group and participating as an active member of her church. In 2009 Polson was awarded the Trailblazer Woman of Valor award by Senator Maria Cantwell. Polson earned her MFA in Creative Non-fiction from Seattle Pacific University in August of 2012.
My Take on the Book
This was a powerful book that challenges you from beginning to end, while at the same time keeping you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. The grief that the book shares is tangible and is so eloquently shared, you are truly moved as a reader and are drawn even deeper into the emotional journey of the main character. While at the same time the author has done an amazing job at developing the setting in which the author shares, and characters that you will want to get to know even further with each page that you read. This was a wonderful book that all should read and share with others.
Praise for North of Hope: "Daring, perceptive and eloquent...Polson's writing is clear and forceful. Like all true pilgrimages, this one is challenging, and well worth taking." --Scott Russell Sanders, author of Earth Works and A Conservationist Manifesto
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