In June 1994 Alvah Simon and his wife, Diana, set off in their 36-foot sailboat, the Roger Henry, to explore the hauntingly beautiful world of icebergs, tundra, and fjords lying within one of the Earth's most remote regions -- the Arctic Circle. North to the Night recounts this remarkable, death-defying voyage, which proved to be as much a spiritual journey as an oceanic one.
Despite the careful preparation and ingenuity that had seen the Simons through a series of ordeals four months into their journey, Alvah and Diana found themselves trapped in Tay Bay, 100 miles from the nearest settlement. When Diana's father then fell terminally ill, she made the wrenching choice to be with him in New Zealand, boarding the last rescue helicopter of the season and leaving Alvah to survive the long polar night alone with his cat, Halifax.
Faced with screaming blizzards, perpetual darkness, and aching loneliness, Alvah learned that more dangerous than the beasts prowling outside the boat were the demons within. Forced to confront the awakening of his spiritual self, he emerged five months later a transformed man. His powerful, triumphant story combines the lyrical excursions of Barry Lopez with the suspense of Into Thin Air to explore the hypnotic draw of our planet's most dangerous beauties.
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"This is truly an adventure story--an intense and gripping exploration of the extreme reaches of the outer and inner world. It reminds me of Jon Krakauer's work with its blend of suspense and analysis and its sheer ability to communicate why and how people do extraordinary things. Though set in the dark, long Arctic winter, North to the Night is filled with illumination."
-- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
"A grand adventure on a vast and awesome scale, wrought onto paper by a writer with a true gift."
-- The Washington Times
"The flair of a storyteller and the outlook of a philosopher . . ."
-- The Buffalo News
Reviews in the national press available to date.
Library Journal: With no daylight and temperatures as low as 60 degrees below zero, Bylot Island in Canada's Northwest Territories, across Baffin Bay from northern Greenland, seems an unlikely place to spend the winter,especially alone in a small boat frozen in the ice. Simon, a wandering American with many nautical miles behind him,and his wife, Diana, a well-travelled New Zealander, planned to share the experience. But when her father's illness called Diana home, Simon stayed on alone with only a cat and occasional curious wildlife for companionship. Reading about so much darkness and ice and the hardship and introspection brought about by them sounds grueling, but Simon can write. When not sharing his inner reflections, he provides interesting observations about the Inuits of the region. The experience, combined with Simon's fine narrative, make this book a good choice for larger public library travel sections. Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon Univ.
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