North of Hope

A Daughter's Arctic Journey

By Shannon Polson
(Zondervan, Hardcover, 9780310328766, 256pp.)

Publication Date: April 1, 2013

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Description
After her parents are killed in a rare grizzly attack, the author is forced into a wilderness of grief. Turning to loves she learned from her father, Polson explores the perilous terrain of grief through music, the natural world, and her faith. Her travels take her from the suburbs of Seattle to the concert hall where she sings Mozart's Requiem, and ultimately into the wilderness of Alaska's remote Arctic and of her heart.

This deeply moving narrative is shot through with the human search for meaning in the face of tragedy. Polson's deep appreciation for the untamed and remote wilderness of the Alaskan Arctic moves her story effortlessly between adventure, natural history, and sacred pilgrimage, as much an internal journey as a literal one. Readers who appreciate music or adventure narratives and the natural world or who are looking for new ways to understand loss will find guidance, solace, and a companionable voice in this extraordinary debut.



About the Author
Shannon Polson lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. She was a contributing writer to More Than 85Broads, and her work has appeared in Seattle and Alaska Magazines, Cirque Journal, Adventure Magazine, and Trachodon, among others. Polson graduated with a B.A. from Duke University in English Literature, an M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, and an M.F.A. from Seattle Pacific University. She served eight years as an attack helicopter pilot in the Army and worked five years in corporate marketing and management roles before turning to writing full time. Polson serves on the board of the Alaska Wilderness League and sings with the critically acclaimed Seattle Pro Musica. She has looked for adventure and challenge anywhere she can find it, scuba diving, sky diving and climbing around the world, including ascents of Denali and Kilimanjaro, and completing two Ironman triathlons. She and her family enjoy backpacking, any kind of skiing, paddling, and spending as much time outdoors as they can in the Western states and Alaska. In September 2009, Polson was awarded the Trailblazer Woman of Valor award from Washington State Senator Maria Cantwell.


Praise For North of Hope
"Shannon Huffman Polson has written a soulful and brave book about death, life, and the complexities surrounding both. There is nothing sentimental in these pages. North of Hope shows us how personal loss and loss of our planet come from the same place: Love. This is a testament to deep change, human and wild."
-Terry Tempest Williams, author, When Women Were Birds

"Daring, perceptive, and eloquent--Polson's writing is clear and forceful. Like all true pilgrimages, this one is challenging, and well worth taking."
- Scott Russell Sanders, author, Earth Works and A Conservationist Manifesto


"Polson's extraordinary journey draws you into the depths of anguish and brings you back out realizing that while not all things fractured can be healed, the soul will gravitate toward beauty, art, and meaning if guided in the right direction."
- Alison Levine, mountaineer, polar explorer, and team captain of the first American Women's Everest Expedition

"North of Hope is an enthralling story of loss, courage, and redemption told by a gifted, original, and brave new voice, Shannon Huffman Polson."
- Robert Clark, award-winning author of ten books, including Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces and Mr. White's Confession


"This is no ordinary memoir. To read it is to be changed."
-Jeanne Walker, author, New Tracks, Night Falling

"Shannon Huffman Polson has written a book about loss that is both unique to her personal experience and universal to the human experience. She writes with clarity, honesty, and poise."
-Andrea Palpant Dilley, author, Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt


"North of Hope, Shannon Polson's gripping account of the shattering, traumatic loss of her father, is a must read. It is a gift to everyone who reads this powerful, inspiring story."
-Janet Hanson, CEO and founder, 85 Broads

"North of Hope is a remarkable story about the power of the wilderness both to harm and to heal, and to provide strength and sustenance to the human spirit, no matter what the challenges."
-Nicholas O'Connell, author, The Storms of Denali

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