cover image The Land of Snow: Journey Across the North in Winter

The Land of Snow: Journey Across the North in Winter

Anders Morley. Mountaineers, $19.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-68051-272-4

Journalist Morley debuts with a thoughtful and inspiring account of his cross-country skiing journey across North America. A New Hampshire native, Morley writes of how he fell in love with skiing and literary tales of adventure from an early age, and planned his trip as “medicine for my diffuse sense of nostalgia and civilizational glut,” while working as an English translator and living in Italy with his Italian wife. Though the intensity of organizing his trip fractured his marriage “perhaps beyond repair,” he forged on. Morley, in his 30s, started in British Columbia and skiied nearly 2,000 miles east to Manitoba from November 2012 to early March 2013. He traveled solo, but the kindness of strangers—rowdy loggers, hospitable First Nations folks, and fellow outdoors people among them—buoyed his spirits and provided Morley with much needed support. These characters add an upbeat quality to the narrative amid the descriptions of Canada’s cold, wintry landscape. Though the trip came to a chaotic, abrupt halt that left Morley thinking his trek was “a wasted opportunity,” he soon realized the experience revealed his true weaknesses, which left him in a position to work on fixing his life and marriage. Morley weaves together human and natural history with skill, and his philosophy on winter and its purpose—“to reveal weaknesses in living things”—captures the season’s beauty. Those with a taste for adventure and an appreciation for nature’s gifts will enjoy this moving expedition. (Sept.)