North of Hope: A Daughter’s Arctic Journey

Shannon Huffman Polson. Zondervan, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-310-32876-6
In her debut, Polson offers a memoir of her journey down a river of grief, set against the sparkling beauty of the wilderness of her native Alaska. A year after her father and stepmother are killed by a bear in their remote camp, the author seeks solace in retracing their rafting route and visiting the site of the attack. Her unlikely companions are her estranged and volatile adopted brother, Ned, and his colleague Sally, a virtual stranger. Along the way, Polson rediscovers the Episcopal faith she abandoned. The trip also sparks self-discovery, love for nature, respect for many religious beliefs, and memories of her father and his wife, made vivid in journal entries they recorded during their voyage over the same territory, and which the author includes. While Polson shares brutally honest feelings that spark kinship with readers who have experienced grief, her need for details about the mauling itself might, in turn, alienate some. A protracted musical theme, detailing the author’s efforts to perform in a concert of Mozart’s Requiem, interrupts the flow of otherwise breathtaking imagery that captures an Arctic beauty that helps melt a heart frozen by grief. Agent: David Jacobsen (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-310-32825-4
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