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I’ve just been to Alaska. I’ve felt the chill of the wind at thirty below; caught my breath as I stared into the yellow gaze of a fox; tasted the scent of caribou; inhaled freezing artic air as I explored the natural wonderland of America’s most northern state. Nick Jans was my guide. His recollections of his

life in this frozen wilderness, his relationship with the Inupiat Eskimos, skill at exploring and hunting, transported me into the moment. His poetic style paints rich colours and creates digital sound.

One of my favourite moments – Jans faces the migrating caribou.

‘Crouched behind my flimsy wall of brush and burlap, the leaders nearly upon me, I fought back the urge to run. Twenty yards away, a cow sensed me. She froze, staring, and her alarm rippled back through the herd until the front ranks had come to a halt. They stood stiff legged and silent, regarding this strange smelling thing that blocked their way. Then without an outward sign, they reached a consensus and moved forward again. The herd surged forward, parted to include me, and I became an island in the river of their passing.’

A beautiful book – highly recommended.

Nick Jans, The Last Light Breaking: Living Among Alaska’s Inupiat Eskimos, Alaska Northwest Books.


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