North to the Night: A Spiritual Odyssey in the Arctic

by Alvah Simon

Paperback, 1999

Call number




Broadway Books (1999), Edition: Reprint, 328 pages


Story of a voyage to the Arctic in 1994-95 in a 36-foot steel cutter. The author & his wife seek adventure, nature, & a deeper understanding of the Inuit people, finding more of all three than they dreamed. Their boat iced in for the winter in the Northwest passage at 74 degrees North, word comes by radio that Diana's father is dying of cancer. The Canadian Coast Guard evacuates her by helicopter & Alvah must survive the winter darkness alone but for a cat. Harrowing adventures, great photographs, & a flair for story telling.

User reviews

LibraryThing member St.CroixSue
Alvah Simon fulfills a dream to sail an ice worthy vessel to the farthest reaches in the arctic to overwinter. It is a fascinating survival story, although there are times one wonders about his decision to pursure a dream that even the most experienced arctic explorers considered foolhardy. Trapped in polar ice for over nine months in a very small sailing vessel, was most likely a first. He experienced an especially tense time during the long months of absoultely no daylight when he was concurrently going blind and suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. He wife is with him for part of the experience and he has the company of a rambunctious cat the entire time as his stalwart companion. An interesting and compelling survival/adventure experience interspersed with arctic history and Inuit lore.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jacobflaws
Excellent tale of personal growth and the seeking of what is really important in life. Couldn't put it down.
LibraryThing member RajivC
I have seen that some reviewers thought of Alvah Simon is a narcissist, and maybe his is.

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 the lucid manner in which he writes. Without this, the book would have been one long drone. He does not make himself seem to be a hero. He does recognise his own urge to conquer new spaces.

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.
… (more)




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