Kingsley's debut book is an odd mix of how-to and travel writing set in Canada's north. The story follows Kingsley and her paddle mates—Tim, Levi, Jen, Drew and Alie—as they spend two months of the summer of 2005 canoeing through the heart of Nunavut up the Baillie and Back rivers to the Arctic Ocean. Interspersing her own mostly charmed Arctic journey with stories of the harrowing and deathly journeys of those who have gone before, the book places itself firmly in the tradition of European exploration of Canada's Arctic. This book adds nothing new to that conversation, and yet Kingsley disparages the other tradition from which she draws: "the wilderness as a backdrop for so-and-so's personal struggle," as she puts it. She paints herself as an irrational, selfish, stubborn, resentful, and impatient person. The moment of personal growth seems to come at the end of the trip when her canoe-mate delineates all of the things that kept Kingsley from feeling like part of the group. Kingsley listens, but the narrative ends shortly after with any growth during this "true encounter" with the wilderness remaining unclear. (Oct.) Agent: Martha Magor Webb, Anne McDermid & Associates.
Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.
"Kingsley beautifully describes the gorgeous, deadly tundra ...The physical and emotional rawness of the trip is keenly felt in Kingsley's prose, leaving the reader to ponder the incredible toll such a journey would take."Shelf Awareness
"Words often fail when it comes to describing the grandeur of the Canadian Arctic, but Ottawa-based writer Kingsley succeeds beautifully in her ruminative memoir about a 54-day rowing trip through Nunavut that featured caribou, grizzlies, and treacherous rapids."Backpacker
"A page-turner of an adventure in the Far North, at turns bone-chilling, mind-blowing, and exultant. I like sitting in my easy chair reading about Jennifer Kingsley's explorations in the wilds left in the world. This is travel-writing at its best.” - Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
"Kingsley goes in search of a place where she feels 'both small and strong,' and comes back with a fast-paced story of risk, reward and raw emotion. For fans of adventure literature, here is a wilder Wild."- J.B. Mackinnon, author of The Once and Future World and Plenty
"A perilous journey through an unforgiving landscape. A wild adventure that sweeps you up in its wake. Jennifer Kingsley is a wicked paddler and a beautiful writer.” Andrew Westoll, author of The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary
"In the tradition of great exploration literature, Jennifer Kingsley examines both the wilderness she paddles through and the wilderness within. An engrossing story that illuminates the north and the nature of friendship.”Don Gillmor, author of Mount Pleasant
"A very personal tour of the beauty as well as the physical, emotional, social and spiritual challenges of arctic "tripping." There's a lot to like in this bookand a lot to be learned. If you're dreaming of mounting your own arctic river expedition, you'll be taking notes."Jo Deurbrouck, author of Anything Worth Doing: A True Story of Adventure, Friendship and Tragedy on the Last of the West's Great Rivers
“The book is an emotional read, a sense of longing or yearning running throughout. Kingsley is a fine and vulnerable writer”Literary Review of Canada
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