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For three months of the year, Jill Fredston and her husband disappear.

At least, that’s the word she uses.  In “Rowing to Latitude,” Fredston documents the many journeys taken to Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Sweden–by rowing.

There’s something unique about travelling; no matter how great the trip, it’s always difficult to adequately convey the experience.  Fredston, however, beautifully captures the arctic scenery, rare wildlife, and all the insanity of adventure.

Though a good chunk of the book is dedicated to the journeys themselves, Fredston often examines her own life and marriage through the experience.  One of the strongest metaphors in the book is the way the couple decides to travel: together, but in their own canoes.

A sunset in Nanaimo, iceberg in Labrador, and mountain range in Sondre Stromfjord are showcased vividly through picture and word.  The couple encounter tribes that have lived in the wilderness for centuries; they row to destinations few eyes have ever seen.  Every paragraph is another stroke of a paintbrush, capturing places we will likely never see.

Fredston puts it best herself, saying that rowing “…is my way of being, of thinking, of seeing. In the process, rowing has evolved from something I do to some way that I am.”  Perhaps she was right to use the word disappear —because once you start reading this book, you’ll get lost in it for days.

Thanks for reading. -Autumn

This book was picked as a #5StarFriday by staff member Marggie.  Find more of her suggestions here.


Be sure to check our digital collection for ebook and digital audiobook availability (available for your smartphone or tablet).

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