Where the Caribou Still Roam: In the Barren Lands of Arctic Canada

Guy Mueller. Little Sticks, $26.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-9986042-3-7
In this earnest, well-intentioned debut, a retiree searches for adventure and answers for himself and the planet during a rafting trip in the Arctic. After selling his family’s business, Mueller, in his mid-50s, joins a friend on a three-week, 200-mile trip down the Thlewiaza River in Canada’s Northwest Territory. Despite fears of bears, injuries, and isolation, he embraces his new pursuit, beginning with researching the area and uncovering the unique aspects of the Arctic’s ecosystem and the looming environmental threats posed by mining, oil extraction, and global climate change. Weaving in tales of previous explorers to the region and describing local indigenous cultures, Mueller juxtaposes the territory’s inhospitable terrain and weather with its life-sustaining waters and wildlife. Academic jargon—such as “debitage of predecessors”—finds its way into the narrative, but so do vivid descriptions and turns of phrases such as “library of places,” “tongue of boulders,” and the “McDonalization and Disneyization of society.” Reflecting on humans’ place on Earth, he writes, “We share this world together, and somehow, we must learn... to coexist more gracefully among our selves.” The result is a thoughtful and vivid, if sometimes scattered, off-the-grid travelogue. (Self-published.)
Reviewed on : 10/23/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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