|Allen & Unwin|
3 February 2022
My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and to Midas PR for the invitation to the blog tour
An ancestry test suggesting she shared some DNA with the Sámi people, the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic tundra, tapped into Laura Galloway's wanderlust; an affair with a Sámi reindeer herder ultimately led her to leave New York for the tiny town of Kautokeino, Norway. When her new boyfriend left her unexpectedly after six months, it would have been easy, and perhaps prudent, to return home. But she stayed for six years.
Dálvi is the story of Laura's time in a reindeer-herding village in the Arctic, forging a solitary existence as she struggled to learn the language and make her way in a remote community for which there were no guidebooks or manuals for how to fit in. Her time in the North opened her to a new world. And it brought something else as well: reconciliation and peace with the traumatic events that had previously defined her - the sudden death of her mother when she was three, a difficult childhood and her lifelong search for connection and a sense of home.
Both a heart-rending memoir and a love letter to the singular landscape of the region, Dálvi explores with great warmth and humility what it means to truly belong.
📖 My Review..
I don't often read memoirs but this story, along with the stunning book cover, really piqued my interest, especially as the author spent six years living in one the most beautiful but remote places in the world. Discovering that she shared DNA with the indigenous Sámi people, who live in the Arctic tundra, opened up a world of possibilities which came at a time in Laura's life when she needed a complete change of environment.
Told in alternate chapters I found the parts of the book about Laura's unconventional American upbringing particularly interesting but it is the chapters which take us on her Arctic adventure, which are fascinating, shining a new light on the idea of taking time out in the wilderness. Laura's relationship with a Sámi reindeer herder is short lived but rather than return to America, Laura stayed on in Kautokeino, the tiny Norwegian town, and with sheer determination she makes this her home and starts to make new friends.
The author is a good raconteur and describes her life in a candid and thought provoking detail. I admired her strength of spirit in taking up a new challenge in a place which had its own complicated language and customs and where she didn't always fit in but all credit to her for taking on the challenge and coping admirably with an adventure which had some scary moments.
Invoking the spirit of the Arctic Tundra and the remoteness of the landscape Dálvi : Six Years in the Arctic Tundra is an engaging read about life lessons and second chances.
About the Author
Laura Galloway is a writer and communications strategist. She began her career at the Los Angeles Times and holds a Master of Arts in Indigenous Journalism from the Sámi University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norway, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Southern California. An ardent animal lover, she and her partner live with her two reindeer-herding dogs and two cats.
Twitter @LauraGalloway #DálviBlogTour
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