In June 1994 Alvah Simon and his wife, Diana, set off in their 36-foot sailboat to explore the hauntingly beautiful world of icebergs, tundra, and fjords lying high above the Arctic Circle. Four months later, unexpected events would trap Simon alone on his boat, frozen in ice 100 miles from the nearest settlement, with the long polar night stretching into darkness for months to come. With his world circumscribed by screaming blizzards and marauding polar bears and his only companion a kitten named Halifax, Simon withstands months of crushing loneliness, sudden blindness, and private demons. Trapped in a boat buried beneath the drifting snow, he struggles through the perpetual darkness toward a spiritual awakening and an understanding of the forces that conspired to bring him there. He emerges five months later a transformed man. Simon's powerful, triumphant story combines the suspense of Into Thin Air with a crystalline, lyrical prose to explore the hypnotic draw of one of earth's deepest and most dangerous wildernesses.
Having said that, going into the Arctic, and spending the winter there is quite an achievement. I would like to bow three times to him, in the Japanese / Korean fashion. Respect, Respect, Respect
Respect for his views on the environment. We need more people like him. Also, for the fact that he lives life on his terms.
Respect for the courage to make this trip to the Arctic, something many of us just dream of doing.
- Alvah Simon, North to the Night
Non-fiction about a man, his wife, and his trusty cat (?!) that set out to spend the winter of
I was impressed by the author’s self-disclosure. He is candid about his foibles and the number of times he ignored sound advice in search of the ultimate adventure. The author attempted to describe his internal struggles that led to a personal transformation – not an easy task. His writing is lyrical; his florid descriptions of nature easily evoked the images. The narrative is very detailed in the beginning but picks of steam once the trip begins in earnest. The book is more than a tale of adventure. It is also a platform for the author to express his deep reverence for nature, his admiration for the Inuit and their native culture, his desire to protect the Arctic ecosystem, and how this extreme experience changed his outlook on life.
Recommended to fans of true adventures, accounts of endurance in extreme environments, and stories of the psychological impact of physical challenges.
“Light and laughter are the core fuels of the human spirit.”
“While most accounts of adventure begin at the mountain base or the jungle wall, the adventure itself usually begins as an idea. This idea, if well watered with imagination, will grow into a dream. Such dreams are powerful and, if allowed to grow unchecked, may even become dangerous obsessions, which threaten to take possession of our lives.”
“Half the world is waiting for some perfect time to start living their lives.”